LONDON: Arsenal placed some players under isolation and the Premier League postponed the London club’s match at Manchester City yesterday, after the owner of Greek side Olympiakos Pireaeus tested positive for the coronavirus.
A number of Arsenal players had met Evangelos Marinakis following their Europa League round of 32 meeting in London on Feb. 27. Marinakis, who also owns English Championship (second tier) side Nottingham Forest, said on Tuesday he had contracted the disease.
The Greek club released a statement yesterday saying their players and staff had been tested for the virus and that all tests came back negative.
Arsenal said in a statement the risk to their players was “extremely low”.
“However, we are strictly following government guidelines which recommend that anyone coming into close contact with someone with the virus should self-isolate at home for 14 days from the last time they had contact.
“The players will remain at their homes until the 14-day period expires. Four Arsenal staff, who were sitting close to Mr Marinakis during the match will also remain at home until the 14 days are complete.”
The Premier League said it had no alternative but to postpone the game and complete a proper risk assessment.
“All necessary measures are being taken and the Premier League currently has no plans to postpone any other matches,” it said in a statement.
Globally, more than 116,000 people have been infected by the coronavirus and over 4,000 have died. A host of international sporting events have also been affected.
Premier League side Wolverhampton Wanderers said on Tuesday that a request to European soccer’s governing body Uefa to postpone their Europa League last-16 first leg against Olympiakos had been rejected.
Wolves had said that the trip to Greece posed unnecessary risks to their “players, staff, supporters and the families of all who travel, at such critical and uncertain times”.
The game is one of several European fixtures that will be played in an empty stadium.