The news comes in the wake of Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta testing positive for COVID-19 and less than an hour after the release of a statement by the League that all matches were scheduled to go ahead this weekend without restrictions on attendance.
It had been believed that the Government's move from the "contain" phase to "delay" in their response to the novel coronavirus outbreak would entail restrictions on sporting events and mandates that matches be played behind closed doors but they have held off on taking that step for now.
A statement from the League said:
“All Premier League matches will go ahead as scheduled this weekend. While the Prime Minister advised that all sporting events should take place as normal for now, he also indicated that Government is considering banning major public events, like sporting fixtures.
“We are therefore continuing to work closely with our clubs, Government, The FA, EFL and other relevant stakeholders to ensure appropriate contingency plans are in place as and when circumstances change. The welfare of players, staff and supporters is of paramount importance and we will continue to follow Public Health England guidelines thoroughly. We will keep everyone updated as appropriate.”
The move means that the Premier League currently stands in rare company among the world's top sporting organisations in not either suspending the season or at least requiring that matches be played behind closed doors.
Games in the Bundesliga and Ligue 1 are on weekend but will be played without fans; other leagues like in in Spain, Portugal and the Netherlands have been suspended.
Meanwhile, Uefa heads and stakeholders will meet via videoconference on Tuesday discuss European football's response to the pandemic and the possibility of postponing the European Championships until 2021.
The Premier League's statement comes in the wake of news that three Leicester City players have been tested for COVID-19 after either exhibiting symptoms indicative of the virus while Bernard Mendy of Manchester City is in self-isolation after coming into contact with someone who has tested positive.
Arsenal's squad was already in isolation following contact between some personnel with Olympiakos's owner Evangelos Marinakis who contracted the virus.
The Gunners' match against Brighton and Hove Albion this weekend has been postponed and the expectation is that the rest of the schedule will also be called off.
Reader Comments (105)
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1 Posted 12/03/2020 at 22:15:37
2 Posted 12/03/2020 at 22:29:45
3 Posted 12/03/2020 at 22:30:36
4 Posted 12/03/2020 at 22:40:16
5 Posted 12/03/2020 at 22:40:53
6 Posted 12/03/2020 at 22:43:14
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has tested positive for coronavirus.
The Gunners have closed their training ground and club staff who had recent contact with Arteta will now self-isolate.
The Premier League will hold "an emergency club meeting" on Friday to discuss future fixtures.
"This is really disappointing but I took the test after feeling poorly," said Spaniard Arteta, 37. "I will be at work as soon as I'm allowed."
Arsenal expects a "significant number of people" will self-isolate, including first-team staff and coaches.
"The health of our people and the wider public is our priority and that is where our focus is," said club managing director Vinai Venkatesham.
"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."
7 Posted 12/03/2020 at 22:46:12
8 Posted 12/03/2020 at 22:54:48
I think it's safe to assume that the season is over.
9 Posted 12/03/2020 at 23:00:19
So what do you do? Suspend the league? Cancel the league? If they cancel (which is being considered in Spain), would that be the right thing to do?
Liverpool are romping home but there's the relegation spots to sort out which are arguably more important to the teams involved. How many of them have to play Liverpool? If it's cancelled now would a team with a tough run-in survive by default?
If they suspend, there's a knock-on for about five years. So god knows what to do.
Would be incredibly harsh on Liverpool. But would just about balance out the last 30 years of spawn. #Karma
10 Posted 12/03/2020 at 23:02:39
Anyway, yeah it looks increasingly likely that this season and the euros are to be cancelled. It's getting worse not better.
11 Posted 12/03/2020 at 23:03:13
12 Posted 12/03/2020 at 23:10:34
The more they try to drag it on, the more it's going to turn fans off. I imagine there's some kind of rule as to what happens in this situation. He'll have a vote like they do in college football and let the AP decide if Liverpool win and who finishes where else.
13 Posted 12/03/2020 at 23:21:49
14 Posted 12/03/2020 at 23:25:06
Whatever happens, there are going to be some clubs happy and others mad, you can't please them all.
15 Posted 12/03/2020 at 23:27:29
16 Posted 12/03/2020 at 23:28:17
17 Posted 12/03/2020 at 23:33:01
And the media need to tone it down a bit. Sure, it's very serious and we all need to be aware of it and do what we can to protect each other, but it's not fucking Shaun of The Dead.
18 Posted 12/03/2020 at 23:46:42
19 Posted 12/03/2020 at 23:49:13
Lol, it sure feels like Shaun of the Dead and the county I'm in has only had four cases. I have a tendency to embrace gallows humor so I'm not giving you an 'lol' to dismiss the crisis but just because I'm a fatalistic Murphy's Law type.
I spoke to an ER nurse today who said it's all hype, but also to a lung surgeon who told me it's far worse than we realize and will get much worse. The only comparable thing I've lived through was 9/11 when the US was paralyzed for a few weeks and everyone was fearful.
I hope it will eventually be something we reflect as over-hyped but a lot of folks in Wuhan, Italy and elsewhere seem to indicate that will not be the case.
20 Posted 13/03/2020 at 00:12:19
I will be astonished and appalled if football continues.
21 Posted 13/03/2020 at 00:14:28
You don't call an "emergency meeting" when you're planning on the status quo.
The NBA shut down when the first player tested positive. The Premier League now has a manager and perhaps three, perhaps six players with the virus. The league has no choice now.
I'm gonna be doing a lot of reading this spring.
22 Posted 13/03/2020 at 00:19:12
23 Posted 13/03/2020 at 00:31:05
Who just got knocked out? Start again next season with all the same starters as this season.
24 Posted 13/03/2020 at 00:53:18
In fairness to the RS, if they cancel the Premier League, they should give them the title. Yeah, I hate them, but I love the sport more than I hate them.
25 Posted 13/03/2020 at 00:57:04
Start again next season. No winners, no losers, no promotions, no relegations, no champions (the law of unintended consequences works in our favour for once) same teams, in the same divisions and issue a new set of fixtures in late June or when ever.
Also next season, no Champions League, no Europa League – firstly because, nobody actually qualified and mostly to stop travellers re-infecting.
Desperate-ish times (and they will become desperate-ish) call for desperate-ish measures. No half arsed measures. Better too much than not enough.
Yes there will be a cost, Clubs will lose money. The players who've been on £80,000 a week for the last how many years can take the hit on this.
As the old highwayman on his horse used to say – your money or your life... or as Dirty Harry used to say – Do ya feel lucky, well, do ya?
But this isn't Dick Turpin on Black Bess, rather another mythical(?) figure on a Pale Horse.
On a lighter note, TV an Netflix etc have been getting it all wrong – not once in any episode have I seen survivors of the Zombie Apocalypse carrying a 20-pack of toilet roll.
26 Posted 13/03/2020 at 01:04:05
27 Posted 13/03/2020 at 01:04:18
28 Posted 13/03/2020 at 01:22:41
In all seriousness, if games have to be cancelled and we're looking at this running into months rather than weeks, I think the FA will have to decide an outcome where no-one wins titles and promotions or gets relegated.
29 Posted 13/03/2020 at 01:43:18
This method could also apply to the other major leagues too. Share this season's prize and TV money out equally to the 20 clubs and next season's on final placings.
30 Posted 13/03/2020 at 02:13:19
Everton finish where they always finish: mid-table.
31 Posted 13/03/2020 at 02:32:20
Unfortinately the uncertainty of the game being played to a crowd forced us to rethink everything. They would both have to get back to work on time and, at 80, I was in the high-risk group. It also seemed senseless to pay so much to watch the game on TV. Fortunately, the airline has agreed to put all fares to one side provided that we use them before the end of the year.
I had really looked forward to meeting John McFarlane and possibly some other ToffeeWebbers but it is not to be. Now, once this virus has subsided, we will still be coming in August to watch an early-season game when Everton will smash whoever they play and the three amigos will still be able to cheer them on. I am the eternal optimist.
In reality, Everton have had a virus for the last four years at least. But I think I could be the Magi on a Blue horse ushering in at least 10 years of glory.
32 Posted 13/03/2020 at 02:51:07
33 Posted 13/03/2020 at 03:06:07
Sorry to hear about your trip but it's probably for the best all things considered.
Hudson Udoi has coronavirus now too. Surely a postponement or cancellation is on the way?
Patrick 29, I agree with some such resolution. Mark 30, I dunno, we've seen great escapes before so who's to say Norwich can't turn it around?
I know the RS wouldn't feel the same way if roles were reversed but I'm trying to be the better person here. In theory, they could win it this weekend. Seems a bit wankerish to debt them.
34 Posted 13/03/2020 at 03:35:48
35 Posted 13/03/2020 at 03:44:46
The total number of deaths from the virus in the US is fewer than the number who die in automobile accidents every day.
36 Posted 13/03/2020 at 03:45:49
This will place the rs along side Esha Ness in a trivia quiz (best place for them) as the answer to the question...in 'the season that never was' who was top of the league.
Personally, I don't want another person to get sick, but from a football perspective I wouldn't give them the steam off my s... erm, soup.
37 Posted 13/03/2020 at 04:12:48
38 Posted 13/03/2020 at 05:21:57
39 Posted 13/03/2020 at 05:22:36
One idea I've had is to play out this season when it passes (probably the summer) and delay the start of next season. To accommodate this, just cancel all next season's domestic and European competitions.
40 Posted 13/03/2020 at 06:28:04
I manage a service in the NHS and I can tell you this is all causing me a right headache. I woke up at 4am thinking about it! I'm stressed but cannot shake the rather delicious thought of just how much this ruins Liverpool's big season, it's bloody marvellous isn't it?
I don't come from Liverpool, I don't live in Liverpool but, my word, would I be feasting out on all this with RS fans if I did! They are increasingly unlikely to be able to celebrate winning it in front of their fans; they are increasingly unlikely to be able to lift the trophy in front of their fans too.
There is even a small (probably faint) hope that the whole damn season could just be curtailed, you have to laugh. Screw you redshite fans and your smug, VAR and Sky Sports supported club. I really hope this ruins the whole experience for you. (I'm not bitter at all am I!) You have so much material, fellas, get stuck in – fill yer boots.
42 Posted 13/03/2020 at 06:51:10
44 Posted 13/03/2020 at 07:18:36
It will change everything. Let's be honest: nobody will want to commit to buying season tickets next season, especially if we don't get some reimbursement?
So many things like that even need consideration.
46 Posted 13/03/2020 at 07:29:39
Wouldn't it be great if the players contributed. If all Premier League players forfeited 50% of everything they earned above £20k per week, think of the difference that it could make.
I'd say I'm normally a pretty cold capitalist... but, in these circumstances, I think extremely wealthy individuals need to step up and help the needy. If not by choice, then by force.
47 Posted 13/03/2020 at 07:41:46
"Tough titty" indeed on Villa who have played a game less than the others. Totally unfair.
I remember in the past both Coventry and Fulham gaining maximum points from their last three games. Can't happen.
48 Posted 13/03/2020 at 07:47:13
I think football is finally realising now that its taken the fans for granted for too long, now the prospect of no fans, or even postponed matches terrifies them.
Many things will need to be taken into consideration over the coming weeks, as I say for a start, the business side football, the early season ticket renewals ect, all that must surely change?
How will fans be able to commit to anything next season when we may face a similar outbreak in the winter where the league is cancelled again or postponed?
49 Posted 13/03/2020 at 08:08:08
It will never happen but it would be interesting to see how they predicted it.
50 Posted 13/03/2020 at 08:21:49
They've banned gatherings of 500+ but from Monday, so everybody can go to the pubs and on to the various games over the weekend – madness.
One of the supermarkets has started rationing what they see as 'essential items' to 2 per person.
51 Posted 13/03/2020 at 08:26:50
52 Posted 13/03/2020 at 08:28:55
53 Posted 13/03/2020 at 08:35:54
An example where the interests of the club, the TV companies and sponsors were put before public health considerations. I am so glad the whole thing backfired on them.
Watching the aftermatch BT coverage, it was pathetic witnessing the likes of Owen and Crouch looking for positives and Owen seemed unable to take it all in. Perhaps he had lost a lot of money on the outcome.Superb was the deadpan Rio Ferdinand, who I am sure was delighted at the result.
As for Lineker, he spoke in hushed tones, as if he had witnessed the last moments of a close relative. His faux concern was over-egged and simply embarrassing. Did he really feel like that? Did he not realise that, despite the millions of gold-digging reds fans watching, there were twice as many people laughing their heads off at the whole farce?
If that game had been played behind closed doors, the Reds would have won. They didn't consider the "Simeone" factor. Klopp was, for once, not the biggest star in the technical area.
54 Posted 13/03/2020 at 08:56:48
Obviously, everyone needs to be sensible and lock down if they're ill but, when I spoke to one of my daughters yesterday (same sort of age as Hudson-Odoi), she was terrified, really freaked by all the media Zombie Apocalypse stuff, and anxious about her future.
We need to settle down a bit and stop the nightmarish reporting of this – the media and the government. How does it help anyone when Boris talks about many families losing loved ones? It may be true, but why say it? Families lose loved ones all the time, death is always with us, but we can't live our entire lives in fear of our mortality.
And it's not just our loved ones who are getting freaked about, look at the markets. I've watched the value of my pension funds go down by about a third, kicking all my plans for retirement back by years. Anyone with a personal pension has lost tens if not hundreds of thousands of pounds over the last two weeks because the markets are so spooked. Calm the fuck down.
55 Posted 13/03/2020 at 08:57:10
I was thinking of you and your family the other day, speculating how disappointing it would have been to make the journey and incur the expenses involved only to discover the game had been called off.
Still, hopefully when all this has cleared up, I will get to meet you later in the year. All the very best wishes to you and your family.
56 Posted 13/03/2020 at 09:06:31
57 Posted 13/03/2020 at 09:13:17
58 Posted 13/03/2020 at 09:13:47
I've made my own decision. I won't be going, whatever way it turns out, because I'm COPD and elderly. More importantly, so is my wife... so that's that for now.
Liverpool won the title weeks ago and morally it is theirs; if anyone dislikes that team more than me, I'd be surprised... but would understand their dislike totally. Give them the fuckin' trophy.
59 Posted 13/03/2020 at 09:15:28
Cancelling the league would be a minefield of epic proportions, mainly in terms of who would be promoted and relegated. Would everything be done on current points/positions? Or calculated points somehow? Or just start the whole season again next year?!
One imagines that they will just try and delay the whole thing; which may be especially possible if they cancel the Euros.
60 Posted 13/03/2020 at 09:17:06
61 Posted 13/03/2020 at 09:17:23
In 1985, they were cheering the team they are alleged to detest the most, in the FA Cup Final against us.
Twelve months after the Heysel tragedy, they were unfurling a banner with Steaua Bucharest on it, a sick reminder towards us about being banned, as they know full well we'd have won it.
In 1997, they were planning a "funeral march" had we been relegated, with mock coffins prepared.
The RS in my local have been unbearable. The second you walk in, they start talking between themselves, although I know full well they are directing their conversation towards me. Other Blues have said the same.
This coronavirus is a serious matter; to reduce further deaths, all sporting events must be shut down completely. I don't agree with anyone who says give them the Premier League title, while it's still mathematically possible for them to be caught. All hotels in Liverpool are fully booked up for their victory parade, which no doubt will be cancelled. GOOD!! If they do manage to cross the finishing line, just pretend it never happened.
Welcome home, Mr Karma!
62 Posted 13/03/2020 at 09:18:45
I'm not going to the derby either, come what may. A mixture of not wanting to be in a big crowd or on a packed train, and not wanting to see that lot winning the title at Goodison.
63 Posted 13/03/2020 at 09:21:45
64 Posted 13/03/2020 at 09:23:01
It would be hilarious but I know how gutted I would be if it was us in that position and they thoroughly deserve it for how far ahead they are and the football they were playing before Christmas.
65 Posted 13/03/2020 at 09:31:59
This is genuine – just listening to the radio.
66 Posted 13/03/2020 at 09:33:08
Beautiful summation of all things red.
I don't drink as much as I used to. If the Premier League is cancelled, I'm on the ale and not stopping until I hit the Priory.
67 Posted 13/03/2020 at 09:33:13
The game isnt off on Monday.
68 Posted 13/03/2020 at 09:38:24
69 Posted 13/03/2020 at 09:38:34
I'm COPD and getting on as well. I won't be going even if the game is on. Hopefully I can watch it on Sky.
Lungs operating at 23.5% at annual test last week, so no way I'll be going.
70 Posted 13/03/2020 at 09:38:45
Suspending it for a few weeks isn't going to work because the government measures are trying to push the peak back, so we'll be probably in a worse position at that time. The worst thing they can do is play behind closed doors, but they can't do that because the staff will be in isolation and clubs would fold with zero revenue.
For once, I feel a bit sorry for them because it's an impossible situation. Whatever they do they'll get stick for it, whether it's the Sky mob or the fans.
71 Posted 13/03/2020 at 09:38:59
72 Posted 13/03/2020 at 09:43:27
73 Posted 13/03/2020 at 09:50:26
Sam 59, It is unreal but it may be the fairest way to cancel the whole season, like it never existed, and start again at the end of August.
74 Posted 13/03/2020 at 09:52:19
75 Posted 13/03/2020 at 09:53:16
Look, I know it was before Sky invented football, but the leagues shut down for years during the world wars, so this is no biggie really in that context. The Shite will get over it, as will Leeds, it will just enter into their folklore.
76 Posted 13/03/2020 at 10:00:33
I can say with absolute certainty that Pickford hasn't caught it.
77 Posted 13/03/2020 at 10:03:26
78 Posted 13/03/2020 at 10:05:05
"We have to be mindful that this problem, this worldwide problem is not going to go away, it's going to run its course, it's not something we can stop and, we, in the football industry, have a responsibility to ourselves and each other that the wellbeing of everybody concerned is taken care. I think what's important first and foremost is to deal with the wellbeing of people involved in the industry. We have to be decisive with how the problem, the situation, is dealt with.”
Showing Kilipperty that it is possible for a football manager to have an opinion on the coronavirus.
79 Posted 13/03/2020 at 10:05:34
80 Posted 13/03/2020 at 10:05:51
81 Posted 13/03/2020 at 10:10:35
82 Posted 13/03/2020 at 10:13:55
Could happen with the Premier League as well, no relegation, Leeds and WBA up, classic 22-team season in 2020-21, everybody happy... oh, wait!
83 Posted 13/03/2020 at 10:15:38
No, much better to award the RS the title, but only give them a plastic replica of the trophy because they haven't actually won it. Or a certificate maybe instead of medals.
84 Posted 13/03/2020 at 10:21:33
85 Posted 13/03/2020 at 10:21:49
Only they could be that lucky!
86 Posted 13/03/2020 at 10:21:58
87 Posted 13/03/2020 at 10:22:34
The derby will be off surely.
Arild @82 – is that officially what the Bundesliga are doing? Interesting.
88 Posted 13/03/2020 at 10:26:29
89 Posted 13/03/2020 at 10:28:28
90 Posted 13/03/2020 at 10:29:04
91 Posted 13/03/2020 at 10:35:16
We dont play again til 6th anyway, so it doesnt affect us but the situation wont be much different will it?
92 Posted 13/03/2020 at 10:37:41
Unconfirmed, according to that paragon of radio, Jim White.
93 Posted 13/03/2020 at 10:38:01
But seriously, although it would have been sort of fun if the Premier League had been cancelled, I must admit – a bit reluctantly – that Liverpool deserve the title this season. They have been the best team by far.
94 Posted 13/03/2020 at 10:39:46
95 Posted 13/03/2020 at 10:40:59
96 Posted 13/03/2020 at 10:44:47
97 Posted 13/03/2020 at 10:47:15
98 Posted 13/03/2020 at 10:48:09
99 Posted 13/03/2020 at 10:49:58
100 Posted 13/03/2020 at 10:51:00
101 Posted 13/03/2020 at 10:51:27
It's a first step. They can review the situation again and extend the suspension if need be.
All very sensible.
Governments and sports bodies have been hesitant and reluctant to take drastic measures until now.
Now, they are all falling like dominoes. Football Leagues and Continental competitions suspended. PGA golf calendar likewise. Formula 1 and e-Formula. Tennis. NBA basketball. Cricket...they can no longer be in denial that all have a duty beyond keeping their sponsors and TV contracts happy.
Swallow this bitter pill now before having to take a more serious dose of medicine later.
This has become a rapidly moving story in the last 24 hours. Worrying now over how to make up the lost fixtures is not the priority. Plenty of time to resolve that when things normalize. And they will.
102 Posted 13/03/2020 at 10:52:09
103 Posted 13/03/2020 at 10:52:25
104 Posted 13/03/2020 at 10:53:34
Premier League Chairman: "Is that Herr Klopp?"
PLC: "Due to the coronavirus prediction that the UK will only peak in May, we are going to have to cancel the remainder of the matches this season, and there will not be time to re-schedule before the start on next season."
Klopp: "Yes, I see that. So we will be pronounced as Premier League Champions then?"
PLC: "No, sorry, Jurgen, the season will just be void in the record books."
Klopp: "Fucking what!!!!!"
105 Posted 13/03/2020 at 11:24:27
The day Liverpool lost the title!
106 Posted 13/03/2020 at 12:17:12
107 Posted 13/03/2020 at 12:25:50
108 Posted 13/03/2020 at 13:42:37
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