The Premier League has announced that Wednesday’s match between Manchester City and Arsenal has been postponed.
The Premier League noted that the decision was taken “as a precautionary measure,” to curtail the spread of coronavirus.
The league said that the decision followed the announcement on Tuesday that the owner of English second-tier club Nottingham Forest and Greek side Olympiakos, Evangelos Marinakis, tested positive to the virus.
“Thirteen days ago, Olympiakos played Arsenal at Emirates Stadium in the UEFA Europa League and Mr. Marinakis, the Greek club’s owner, met with several Arsenal squad members and staff.
“Following medical advice, Arsenal FC and Manchester City FC consider it is necessary to postpone their fixture due to be played this evening, Wednesday, March 11, to give time to fully assess the situation,” the Premier League said in a statement.
However, this is the first match in the Premier League to be called off due to the novel coronavirus.
Following yesterday’s news that Olympiacos owner Evangelos Marinakis has recently contracted Covid-19, we have been taking medical advice and tracing any individuals who had what the guidelines define as close contact with him at the game 13 days ago.
As a result of this exercise we identified that a number of players met the Olympiacos owner immediately following the game.
The medical advice we have received puts the risk of them developing Covid-19 at extremely low. However, we are strictly following the Government guidelines which recommend that anyone coming into close contact with someone with the virus should self-isolate at home for 14 days from the last time they had contact.
As a result, the players are unavailable for tonight’s match against Manchester City and the Premier League has decided the game should be postponed.
The players will remain at their homes until the 14-day period expires. Four Arsenal staff – who were sitting close to Mr Marinakis during the match – will also remain at home until the 14 days are complete.
We fully understand how disappointing this is for our supporters, in particular those who were travelling to Manchester for tonight’s match. Tickets will be valid for the match when it’s rearranged.
As a further precautionary measure, whilst we do not believe there was any close contact with any other Arsenal guests or staff in the directors box restaurant, we are contacting them to advise they should follow the relevant advice if there has been any such contact.
Everyone at Arsenal Football Club wishes Mr Marinakis a swift recovery and we look forward to the players and staff returning to work on Friday in preparation for our match at Brighton.