Premier League

Soccer on Hiatus: England, Scotland joins rest of world in suspending play

As expected following the news that Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta and Chelsea midfielder Callum Hudson-Odoi tested positive for COVID-19, the Premier League has suspended operations through April 4.

The league made its announcement shortly after 7 a.m. Friday.

In a statement, Premier League CEO Richard Masters said, “Above all, we wish Mikel Arteta and Callum Hudson-Odoi speedy recoveries, and everyone else affected by COVID-19.

“In this unprecedented situation, we 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.”

In addition to the Premier League, the English Football League — levels two through four on the English football pyramid — as well as The FA Cup and the English Women’s Super League will not hold any fixtures until April 3 at the earliest. That, of course, could change.

In addition, England’s international fixtures with Italy and Denmark at the international window have been postponed.

England follows a long list of domestic leagues that have suspended operations following the outbreak of COVID-19, the coronavirus. Italy’s Serie A and Spain’s La Liga were the first top flight leagues to cancel earlier this week, with Major League Soccer, USL Championship, and USL League One here in the United States following suit on Thursday. UEFA also postponed next week’s Champions League and Europa League fixtures; CONCACAF also postponed its Champions League fixtures.

Following England’s announcement, Scotland followed suit.

Three Leicester City players showed signs of COVID-19 and were isolated from the group, before Manchester City’s Benjamin Mendy elected to self-quarantine after a family member was hospitalized.

During the dinner hour Thursday, Arsenal noted Arteta had tested positive, forcing the league to postpone Saturday morning’s fixture with Brighton Hove & Albion. The 19-year-old Hudson-Odoi also tested positive early Friday.

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