EFL and Premier League holding emergency meetings as coronavirus threatens football fixtures

The Premier League and EFL will hold emergency meetings on Friday morning with the Arsenal and Chelsea first-team squads in self-isolation after positive coronavirus tests for Gunners manager Mikel Arteta and Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi.

Friday, 13th March 2020, 10:03 am
Updated Friday, 13th March 2020, 10:04 am
Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta

This weekend's programme is now in jeopardy after Arsenal confirmed Arteta had contracted Covid-19 before Chelsea reported Hudson-Odoi's case hours later.

The Gunners' trip to Brighton on Saturday was immediately postponed and further games appear certain to follow, while in golf, the US PGA on Thursday called off the Players Championship at Sawgrass after the first round, as well as its scheduled tournaments for the next three weeks.

The Premier League could follow the NBA in suspending its season, with US basketball officials clarifying on Thursday the league will be halted for at least 30 days.

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Leicester (three) and Manchester City (one) also have players in self-isolation and the Premier League, who earlier on Thursday said games would go ahead as planned, said it would "convene an emergency club meeting regarding fixtures".

The English Football League announced it too would be holding a meeting on Friday morning, with an EFL spokesman saying: "The EFL board will meet this morning to make a decision on this weekend's fixtures and beyond."

In a video message on his official Twitter feed, Hudson-Odoi said he had the virus for "the last couple of days" and recovered, and was "self-isolating myself from everybody for the week".

Meanwhile, Liverpool cancelled their scheduled press conference ahead of Monday's clash with Everton.

In rugby league, Leeds Rhinos on Friday announced they were not travelling to Spain for Saturday's match against Catalans Dragons on medical grounds, with a member of their squad self-isolating after showing symptoms of possible coronavirus.

A number of high-profile sporting events around the world have already been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic with Sunday's Australian Grand Prix becoming a casualty on Thursday night.

The race, which was due to take place in Melbourne on Sunday, was called off after a member of the McLaren team tested positive.

McLaren had already decided to withdraw but, following a meeting of race organisers and team bosses, the race was cancelled.