The Premier League had issued a statement late on Thursday stating that "all Premier League matches will go ahead as scheduled this weekend", but came under increasing pressure to suspend the league even before Mikel Arteta and Callum Hudson-Odoi tested positive for the virus.

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However after it became clear that staff – including players – at an increasing number of professional clubs across the country had shown symptoms of the virus a blanket suspension across the professional game became imminent.

And a decision was taken after an emergency club meeting was convened on Friday, with the Premier League announcing that the "Premier League, FA, EFL and WSL have collectively agreed to postpone the professional game in England."

“Following a meeting of shareholders today, it was unanimously decided to suspend the Premier League with the intention of returning on 4 April, subject to medical advice and conditions at the time,” read a statement on the Premier League website.

The statement added that the Premier League intends to complete all fixtures, rescheduling when it is safe to do so.

"Despite the challenges, it is the Premier League’s aim is to reschedule the displaced fixtures, including those played by Academy sides, when it is safe to do so."

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"In this fast-moving environment, further updates will be provided when appropriate."

The announcement follows similar decisions by the governing bodies in Italy and Spain, where the leagues have been suspended until April 3 and April 5 respectively. Elsewhere, MLS, Eredivisie, Ligue 1 and the Primeira Liga have all suspended play for varying amounts of time.

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