Premier League to hold coronavirus emergency meeting after Arteta tests positive for COVID-19

The Premier League on Thursday initially announced that matches this weekend would be played “as normal” with fans in the seats despite coronavirus concerns. However, the league might change course after Arsenal coach Mikel Arteta tested positive for COVID-19. The Premier League will hold an “emergency club meeting” on Friday morning to discuss how to handle upcoming matches as the virus continues to spread.

Arsenal’s game against Brighton on Saturday has been postponed, but it’s unclear if the other nine games on the schedule will be played. Most leagues around the world are suspending play or playing behind closed doors.

The initially announced decision from the Premier League came after advice from prime minister Boris Johnson. Here’s what the league said minutes before Arteta’s diagnosis was announced:

Following the latest update from Government issued this afternoon, all Premier League matches will go ahead as scheduled this weekend. 

While the Prime Minister advised that all sporting events should take place as normal for now, he also indicated that Government is considering banning major public events, like sporting fixtures.

We are therefore continuing to work closely with our clubs, Government, The FA, EFL and other relevant stakeholders to ensure appropriate contingency plans are in place as and when circumstances change

The welfare of players, staff and supporters is of paramount importance and we will continue to follow Public Health England guidelines thoroughly. 

We will keep everyone updated as appropriate.

In addition to Arteta testing positive, three Leicester City players are in isolation with coronavirus symptoms while Manchester City’s Benjamin Mendy is also in isolation after a family member tested positive, according to Sky Sports. England hosted a Champions League game with fans on Wednesday as Liverpool was eliminated by Atletico Madrid at Anfield. Manchester United played a Europa League game in Austria on Thursday without spectators. 

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