UK Clubs Take Precautionary Measures Against Covid-19
The Premier League has confirmed tonight’s match between Manchester City and Arsenal has been postponed as a precautionary measure following the announcement on Tuesday that Nottingham Forest owner Evangelos Marinakis has contracted COVID-19.
Thirteen days ago, Olympiacos played Arsenal at Emirates Stadium in the UEFA Europa League and Mr Marinakis, also owner of the Greek club, met with several Arsenal squad members and staff.
A statement released by the Premier League, read: “Following medical advice, Arsenal FC and Manchester City FC consider it is necessary to postpone their fixture due to be played this evening, Wednesday 11 March, to give time to fully assess the situation.
“The Premier League has therefore agreed that tonight’s match will be rearranged.
“We understand this will cause inconvenience and cost to fans planning to attend the game but Arsenal, Manchester City and the Premier League have agreed that the short notice of Mr Marinakis’ infection means there is no alternative but to take the time to complete a proper assessment of risk.”
The match is the first in the UK to be cancelled as a direct result of the outbreak which has seen all football in Italy postponed until 3rd April and matches in the UEFA Champions League and Europa League played behind closed doors.
In Spain, LaLiga confirmed at all matches will be played behind closed doors for two weeks beginning 10th March. However, the Premier League has stated that all necessary measures are being taken and currently has no plans to postpone any other matches.
In relation to Mr Marinakis, an EFL spokesman said: “The EFL remains in close contact with Nottingham Forest after it was revealed owner Evangelos Marinakis had tested positive for COVID-19 (aka Coronavirus).
“The League is in dialogue to fully ascertain the set of circumstances that existed when Mr Marinakis visited the club last week and in conjunction with the club will make a determination on what measures are to be taken – if any – when full details are known.
“We understand the club is taking the appropriate steps to mitigate risk in line with relevant guidance provided by the health authorities.
“The Government guidance remains unchanged on the position of EFL matches taking place as scheduled.”
The spread of the virus remains a huge concern for football. This summer’s UEFA Euro Finals, due to take place in 12 cities across Europe in June, is increasingly is under threat.
FIFPro, the World Players’ Union has stated it will continue to monitor the consequences of the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) around the world and its impact on the professional football industry.
In a statement, released today, they urged football’s authorities to be consistent with their decision-making based on government advice.
The statement read: “Cross-border travel and attendance in and around games creates a high risk, affecting everyone from spectators and players to match officials and club staff. To provide a reliable and clear course of action which puts people and public health we ask authorities and competition organisers to take transparent, reasonable and consistent decisions across the football industry based on government advice.
“Professional footballers, like other workers, are concerned about themselves and their families and friends being exposed to the Coronavirus during their daily lives. For players their exposure could come during travel, training and match days. Any actions relating to these activities must be coordinated in close cooperation with players and their unions.
“We ask that employers and competition organizers respect the wishes of players to take short-term precautionary measures including suspending training or competitions. We support the players and their associations who have requested a suspension or postponement of football activities in their countries or regions.
“As an international industry professional football is heavily affected by this situation in multiple ways. Matches behind closed doors and cancellations have a considerable effect on the revenue streams and cash flow of small and medium sized clubs. The football industry should therefore consider extraordinary solidarity measures to protect the industry and support clubs in need through, for example, financial assistance or advanced payments.
“As the situation changes, it is important to strengthen coordination amongst international football stakeholders, governments and public health experts in order to take the best possible course of action for our people and our industry.”
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