English Premier League suspended as Arsenal manager and Chelsea player catch coronavirus

The English Premier League has been suspended until at least April 3 after Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta and Chelsea player Callum Hudson-Odoi tested positive for coronavirus.

Following Arteta’s, the entire Arsenal first-team squad and coaching staff have gone into self-isolation and the Premier League called an emergency meeting on Friday. The league has now been suspended until at least April 3 along with the English Football League and international fixtures.

Hudson-Odoi became the first Premier League player to test positive for the virus, the club said on Friday. The Chelsea squad has also gone into full isolation. Everton also said its players and coaches have been put in isolation after a player reported symptoms and Bournemouth players are also self-isolating. Betting stocks were hammered in early trading over the prospect of a delay or cancellation to the season. Ladbrokes owner GVC GVC, -9.07% slumped 8% and William Hill WMH, -4.24% fell 7% — the pair have both fallen around 50% so far this year.

Brighton announced its game against Arsenal has been postponed but a decision is yet to be made on Chelsea’s game against Aston Villa.

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Italy’s Serie A league has already been suspended until at least Apr. 3 following a government decree, while Spain’s La Liga has been postponed for two weeks after Real Madrid players were ordered into quarantine. Major League Soccer was suspended in the U.S. for 30 days on Thursday and the National Basketball Association season has also been halted. Golf’s U.S. Masters tournament in Augusta, Georgia has also been suspended.

The English soccer league was one of the few competitions in Europe unaffected by the coronavirus pandemic.

That changed on Friday as the virus continued to spread through the English game. Two entire teams are now in self-isolation for a two-week period and Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers said three of his players have shown signs of symptoms.

Arsenal said it was working to trace any other people who have come into close contact with Mikel Arteta in recent days.

Head of football Raul Sanllehi said: “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.”

Arsenal’s game with Manchester City — due to take place earlier this week — was postponed after Olympiacos owner Evangelos Marinakis tested positive for the virus. The Greek team had played at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium less than two weeks before. However, Arteta is not believed to have any contact with Marinakis.