London: Arsenal’s game against Manchester City, set to be played on Wednesday night, became the first Premier League fixture to be called off because of the coronavirus after players from the London club were put into quarantine.
In a statement, Arsenal said players will be isolated for 14 days after coming into contact with the owner of Greek club Olympiakos, who has tested positive for COVID-19.
“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,” Arsenal said.
“As a result of this exercise we identified that a number of players met the Olympiacos owner immediately following the game,” it added.
Arsenal said the players and four staff who met Marinakis after the game at their stadium will be remain at their homes until the quarantine period is complete.
“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,” said Arsenal
“The players will remain at their homes until the 14-day period expires. Four Arsenal staff – who were sitting close to Marinakis during the match – will also remain at home until the 14 days are complete.”
Meanwhile, Manchester City said the postponement was a “precautionary measure” and that information about rescheduling would be available in the coming days.
Many sporting events across the world have been put on hold. Over 1,00,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus have been reported so far across the world and more than 3,500 people have lost their lives due to the deadly disease.