The Premier League has finally made the right call and suspended the season for the foreseeable future.
With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to spread throughout the world, the Premier League has been rocked in the last couple of days with a number of teams either reporting positive tests for the coronavirus, or else going into self-isolation with players and staff showing symptoms of the illness.
An emergency phone call was set up with the clubs for 10:30 local time this morning to discuss next steps where the decision was made to postpone all fixtures in the Premier League and the Football League until after the upcoming international break, which is April 3rd, at the very least.
Earlier today the English Football League chiefs held an emergency meeting of their own and decided to to suspend all fixtures in the Championship, League One and League Two as a precautionary measure to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
In an unsettling press conference yesterday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson flanked by his top scientific adviser and medical officer insisted that there was no need to shut down sporting activities and public gatherings quite yet, despite every major league in Europe already taking the decision to suspend their seasons.
Boris Johnson on why sporting events continue in Britain: "It is very important that we are guided by the science. there is very little epidemiological or medical reason at the moment to ban such (sporting) events."— Rob Harris (@RobHarris) March 12, 2020
However, within minutes of the Premier League then announcing that this weekend’s fixtures would continue as normal, Arsenal revealed that manager Mikel Arteta had tested positive for the coronavirus and Chelsea announced that Callum Hudson-Odoi had picked it up too.
Leicester City have three unnamed players in isolation for showing symptoms while Benjamin Mendy of Manchester City was also self-distancing after being exposed to a relative who had caught the illness.
And then early this morning Everton released a statement saying that the entire first team and staff are in self-isolation after a player had shown symptoms. Soon after, Bournemouth revealed that goalkeeper Artur Boruc and four staff are also self-isolating, having displayed symptoms consistent with the coronavirus.
West Ham United can now be added to this list as clubs self-isolating, in their case it’s for coming into contact with Arteta during their game over the weekend.
As of this morning, at least
seven eight clubs are following government guidelines and Public Health England advice regarding the coronavirus - Arsenal, AFC Bournemouth, Chelsea, Everton, Leicester City, Manchester City, Watford FC and West Ham.