Yesterday it was revealed that Olympiacos’ owner Evangelos Marinakis had tested positive for Coronavirus putting his recent visit to Arsenal within the 14-day time period linked with symptoms beginning to show. Arsenal came out with a statement that none of the players were showing symptoms of the virus but it was enough for the Premier League to take precautionary measures and cancel today’s match against Manchester City.
Attention quickly moved toward the weekend’s fixture against Brighton & Hove Albion and if that match would also be affected. Brighton released the following statement on their website:
“The risk is considered extremely low and Saturday’s match remains scheduled to go ahead with the self-isolation period for those players ending tomorrow. We continue to follow government and medical advice with regard to the coronavirus.
Those players, and a small number of staff, took the measure after they met with Olympiakos owner Evangelos Marinakis on Thursday 27th February at the Europa League tie between the clubs at the Emirates. Mr Marinakis confirmed yesterday he has tested positive for the virus.
Arsenal have confirmed none of the staff or players are showing any symptoms of the virus, and a statement from the club confirmed: “The medical advice we have received puts the risk of them developing Covid-19 at extremely low.
“However, we are strictly following the 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.”
With Serie A, La Liga, Bundesliga, and others looking at their options of playing behind closed doors or cancelling the season entirely, people are waiting to see what affect this outbreak will have on the Premier League. Fortunately, cases in the UK remain significantly lower than their European neighbors, but precautionary steps are being put in place.
Ideally, this situation will be an isolated event, but given the escalation of cases across the world, you feel like this may be the first situation of a few. Player and staff safety needs to be a priority when making plans or changes to the season, which makes this decision the right one.
If all goes as planned, Arsenal players will return to training later this week leaving very little time to prepare for Brighton. It may be hard to stay focused but Arteta is in desperate need for as many points as he can get for the remainder of the season, especially with a looming tricky run of 4 games still to come.