Defending English Premier League champion Manchester City's home fixture against Arsenal on Wednesday got postponed as the players from the London-based club had come in contact with the owner of Olympiakos Piraeus who has been infected with coronavirus or COVID0-19.
Evangelos Marinakis, the owner of the Greek side had met a number of players who play for Arsenal following their Europa League round of 32 fixture on February 27. Marinakis who is also the owner of Nottingham Forest stated on Tuesday that he had contracted the coronavirus.
City vs Arsenal match postponed
Globally, more than 116,000 people have been infected by the coronavirus and over 4,000 have died, according to a Reuters tally of government announcements. A host of international sporting events have also been affected. "Manchester City's Premier League fixture at home to Arsenal has been postponed," City said in a statement.
"The decision to postpone tonight's game has been taken as a precautionary measure on medical advice after it emerged that personnel from Arsenal FC have come into contact with the Olympiacos owner, Evangelos Marinakis, who has been named as a positive case of COVID-19." Arsenal said the risk to their players was "extremely low" but they would follow medical guidelines. "The medical advice we have received puts the risk of them developing COVID-19 at extremely low," Arsenal said in a statement.
"However, we are strictly following 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. 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."
Premier League said it had no alternative but to postpone
The Premier League said it had no alternative but to postpone the game and complete a proper risk assessment. It added that no other matches were in immediate danger of being postponed. "All necessary measures are being taken and the Premier League currently has no plans to postpone any other matches," it said in a statement.
Premier League side Wolverhampton Wanderers said on Tuesday that their request to European soccer's governing body UEFA to postpone their Europa League last-16, first leg against Olympiakos had been rejected. Wolves had said that the trip to Greece posed unnecessary risks to their "players, staff, supporters and the families of all who travel, at such critical and uncertain times". The game is one of several European fixtures that will be played without supporters.
(With agency inputs)