Arsenal football match in Brighton postponed after manager goes down with coronavirus

Posted On 12 Mar 2020 at 10:43 pm

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has been confirmed as having the coronavirus days before the north London club was due to play Brighton and Hove Albion at the Amex stadium.

The Arsenal first team squad has gone into isolation and the game has become the first Premier League match to be postponed because of the virus.

This news came a few hours after the Premier League said that all games would go ahead on Saturday.

The Premier League will now convene an emergency meeting tomorrow morning (Friday 13 March) to discuss the implications for the remainder of the season.

Albion said: “In light of the news that broke earlier this evening concerning Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta and his first-team squad, we can confirm that Saturday’s match against Arsenal has now been confirmed.

”Arsenal confirmed tonight that their head coach has tested positive for the coronavirus and that their entire first-team squad are now self-isolating.”

Albion chief executive Paul Barber said: “First and foremost our thoughts are with Mikel Arteta and we wish him a speedy recovery.

”It’s absolutely essential the health and wellbeing of individuals takes priority and with that in mind Saturday’s match has been postponed.

”We apologise to all fans for any inconvenience but trust everyone will understand that we are all facing an unprecedented situation.

”The Premier League has announced this evening that they will convene an emergency meeting of all clubs tomorrow morning and we will update supporters on future fixtures as and when we are in a position to do so.”

A statement on the Arsenal FC website said: “Our London Colney training centre has been closed after head coach Mikel Arteta received a positive covid-19 result this evening.

“Arsenal personnel who had recent close contact with Mikel will now self-isolate in line with Government health guidelines. We expect this to be a significant number of people from Colney, including the full first-team squad and coaching staff, as well as a smaller number of people from our Hale End Academy which we have also temporarily closed as a precaution.

“We expect those who did not have close contact with Mikel to return to work in the coming days. In the meantime our Colney and Hale End training centres will undergo a deep clean and our other club sites are operating as normal.”

Managing director Vinai Venkatesham said: “The health of our people and the wider public is our priority and that is where our focus is. Our thoughts are with Mikel who is disappointed but in good spirits. We are in active dialogue with all the relevant people to manage this situation appropriately, and we look forward to getting back to training and playing as soon as medical advice allows.”

Head of football Raul Sanllehi added: “Mikel and the full first-team squad, players and staff, will be fully supported, and we look forward to getting back to training and playing as soon as medical advice allows. Obviously Mikel’s full recovery is the priority now for us all.”

The club added: “We will work with Public Health England on the next steps in regard to our facilities and staff, and with the Premier League, Football Association and relevant clubs around our forthcoming matches in the Premier League and Emirates FA Cup.

“It is clear we will not be able to play some fixtures on their currently scheduled dates. We will update supporters who have tickets for forthcoming games with more information as soon as possible.

“We are now working to trace any other people who have had recent close contact with Mikel. We will let them know what has happened and they should follow the NHS guidance which is likely to recommend self-isolation.”

Mikel said: “This is really disappointing but I took the test after feeling poorly. I will be at work as soon as I’m allowed.”

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