In Brief

Premier League: Man City vs. Arsenal falls victim to coronavirus

Some Arsenal players and staff are self-isolating after Olympiacos owner Evangelos Marinakis tested positive for the virus

Manchester City’s match against Arsenal this evening has become the first Premier League fixture to fall victim to coronavirus.

The decision to call off the Etihad clash was taken after Nottingham Forest and Olympiacos owner Evangelos Marinakis tested positive for coronavirus a fortnight after watching his Greek team beat Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium in the Europa League.

The 52-year-old, who divides his time between Nottingham and Greece, confirmed in an Instagram statement that he has contracted the virus. 

“The recent virus has ‘visited’ me and I felt obliged to let the public know,” he wrote. “I feel good as I take all the necessary measures and I discipline to the doctors’ instructions. I strongly advice [sic] all my fellow citizens to do the same. I wish all a quick recovery.”

In response to the news, Arsenal issued a statement, saying: “Our home match with Olympiacos was played on Thursday 27 February and none of our staff who came into contact with [Marinakis] on that matchday have reported any symptoms since. 

“We continue to follow strict protocols with regard to coronavirus. We’re following the Government health guidelines and have additional procedures in place to protect our players and staff.

“This has included regular deep cleaning of areas used by players at Emirates Stadium and our training centre.”

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People who have come into contact with carriers are obliged to self-isolate for 14 days and in the case of Arsenal this timeframe expires on Friday. 

“The players will remain at their homes until the 14-day period expires,” continued the statement. “Everyone at Arsenal Football Club wishes Mr Marinakis a swift recovery and we look forward to the players and staff returning to work on Friday in preparation for our match at Brighton.”

Expressing their disappointment at the development, Arsenal assured supporters that “tickets will be valid for the match when it’s rearranged”.

When that is, however, is still to be decided.

In its own statement the Premier League said: “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.

“All necessary measures are being taken and the Premier League currently has no plans to postpone any other matches.” 

Today’s back pages

Spurs crash out, Klopp warns of Atletico’s ‘dark arts’ and Wolves must play in Greece

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