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Arteta tests positive for coronavirus, Arsenal game off, Prem season in doubt

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ByPete Sharland
12/03/2020 at 22:32 | Updated 12/03/2020 at 23:32
@PeteSharland

Arsenal have confirmed that their manager Mikel Arteta has tested positive for coronavirus COVID-19.

The club released the statement on Thursday evening confirming that the club’s training centre had been closed after Arteta’s positive result.

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The news comes shortly after the Premier League insisted that this weekend’s fixtures would go ahead as scheduled.

However in Arsenal’s statement they made it clear that they may not be able to play some fixtures - and both clubs soon announced that Saturday's match against Brighton would not go ahead as planned.

Brighton chief executive Paul Barber said: "First and foremost our thoughts are with Mikel Arteta and we wish him a speedy recovery. It’s absolutely essential the health and wellbeing of individuals takes priority and with that in mind Saturday’s match has been postponed."

In response to the news about Arteta the Premier League has announced that it will convene an emergency meeting on Friday with a postponement expected across the competition.

Some reports indicate that a number of clubs would wish for the 2019-20 season to be voided.

ARSENAL STATEMENT IN FULL

Our London Colney training centre has been closed after head coach Mikel Arteta received a positive COVID-19 result this evening.

Arsenal personnel who had recent close contact with Mikel will now self-isolate in line with Government health guidelines. We expect this to be a significant number of people from Colney, including the full first-team squad and coaching staff, as well as a smaller number of people from our Hale End Academy which we have also temporarily closed as a precaution.

We expect those who did not have close contact with Mikel to return to work in the coming days. In the meantime our Colney and Hale End training centres will undergo a deep clean and our other club sites are operating as normal.

Managing director Vinai Venkatesham said: “The health of our people and the wider public is our priority and that is where our focus is. Our thoughts are with Mikel who is disappointed but in good spirits. 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.”

Head of football Raul Sanllehi added: “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.”

We will work with Public Health England on the next steps in regard to our facilities and staff, and with the Premier League, Football Association and relevant clubs around our forthcoming matches in the Premier League and Emirates FA Cup.

It is clear we will not be able to play some fixtures on their currently scheduled dates. We will update supporters who have tickets for forthcoming games with more information as soon as possible.

We are now working to trace any other people who have had recent close contact with Mikel. We will let them know what has happened and they should follow the NHS guidance which is likely to recommend self-isolation.

Mikel said: “This is really disappointing but I took the test after feeling poorly. I will be at work as soon as I’m allowed.”

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