UPDATE (7:45 PM): Saturday’s match at Brighton & Hove Albion has been postponed.
Just two days after the decision to postpone the Premier League match between Manchester City vs Arsenal over health concerns, it was announced just moments ago that Arsenal’s manager Mikel Arteta has tested positive for COVID-19 as the global epidemic continues to affect the sports community.
Arsenal has announced that manager Mikel Arteta has tested positive for coronavirus.— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 12, 2020
Club personnel who had recent close contact with him will self-isolate. pic.twitter.com/LcLiSSFYuM
Shortly after the shocking news, Arsenal made the decision to deep clean their training facilities in an effort to mitigate the chances of the virus spreading while the entire first team will be in self-isolation for 14 days while they await further medical testing.
London Colney and Hale End closed to undergo full deep clean. Entire first team squad will self-isolate. It is impossible to see how Brighton game can go ahead. We still await official confirmation.— James Benge (@jamesbenge) March 12, 2020
The Premier League acted quickly as well, making the appropriate decision to suspend Saturday’s match against Brighton and Hove Albion per reports, although at time of publishing, there has been no official statement from either club or the league. There are some anticipating that the league will suspend all matches at an emergency meeting on Friday morning.
Premier League call emergency meeting on Friday morning after Arteta development. Arsenal game at Brighton will be off as Arteta and players in self isolation. More to follow @MirrorFootball— John Cross (@johncrossmirror) March 12, 2020
With how quickly COVID-19, otherwise known as the Coronavirus, has drastically altered the sporting landscape this week, it was only a matter of time before it affected teams at every level of personnel. Champions League and domestic matches across Europe had been played behind closed doors this week, while Italy and Spain decided to suspend their seasons indefinitely. In the US, the NHL and NBA have followed suit, and the NCAA basketball tournament has been cancelled.
This news, while sobering, is unsurprising. The decision to postpone the City fixture came shortly after it was discovered that the owner of Olympiakos, who had played at the Emirates less than two weeks prior in the Europa League, had been diagnosed with the Coronavirus. His presence at the London match put him in close contact with several personnel from Arsenal, including Arteta.
It was anticipated that the Premier League will suspend the season would be suspended after several Leicester City players had been tested for it. Arteta’s diagnosis is another brick in gigantic wall that says SUSPEND THE SEASON NOW. While we all love sports, the health of the players, managers, staff, and general public are certainly not worth risking for our entertainment.
Stay tuned for developments.