The Premier League has been suspended until at least April 3. The decision comes after Arsenal’s head coach Mikel Arteta and Chelsea player Callum Hudson-Odoi were both confirmed to be infected with the coronavirus.
The EPL, which has a global audience of more than three billion people, the EFL, FA Women’s Super League, and the FA Women’s Championship have collectively consented to suspend professional football until Friday 3 April at the earliest.
Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said: that they "are working closely with our clubs, Government, The FA and EFL and can reassure everyone the health and welfare of players, staff and supporters are our priority."
Executives reached the decision to suspend the competition during an emergency meeting after Arteta and Hudson-Odoi turned in positive results for the virus.
Hudson-Odoi displayed cold symptoms on Monday morning. His test result was returned on Thursday night making him the first Premier League player to contract the virus. He has since tweeted, "I'm feeling fine. Following the health guidelines and self-isolating myself from everybody for the week. I hope to see everybody soon and hopefully be back on the pitch very soon."
According to Quartz, players, and staff of Arsenal, Bournemouth, Chelsea, Everton, Leicester and Watford are in self-isolation and awaiting tests. The Premier League has stated that it aims to reschedule the displaced fixtures, including those played by academy sides, when it is safe to do so.
Meanwhile, Uefa, Europe’s governing body, has suspended the Champions League and Europe League, while a decision about UEFA Euro 2020 has yet to be announced.