The Premier League game between Manchester City and Arsenal on Wednesday at the Etihad has been postponed as a “precautionary measure” – and several Gunners players put into self-isolation – after Olympiakos owner Evangelos Marinakis contracted coronavirus.
Arsenal announced the postponement in a statement on their official website on Wednesday.
According to the Gunners, Olympiakos owner Marinakis, 52, met a number of Arsenal players during their Europa League match at the Emirates two weeks ago.
Marinakis – who also owns Championship side Nottingham Forest – revealed on Tuesday he had tested positive for Covid-19 .
Olympiakos will host Wolves in the Europa League on Thursday, after Uefa rejected Wolves’ request for the last-16 first-leg match to be postponed.
The postponement means Premier League leaders Liverpool can no longer win their first title since 1990 this weekend.
Liverpool would have been crowned champions if City had lost to Arsenal at Etihad Stadium and then also been beaten by Burnley on Saturday.
A statement by Arsenal read: “Our Premier League match with Manchester City on Wednesday night has been postponed.
“Following yesterday’s news that Olympiacos owner Evangelos Marinakis has recently contracted Covid-19, we have been taking medical advice and tracing any individuals who had what the guidelines define as close contact with him at the game 13 days ago.
“As a result of this exercise we identified that a number of players met the Olympiacos owner immediately following the game.
“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.
“As a result, the players are unavailable for tonight’s match against Manchester City and the Premier League has decided the game should be postponed.
“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.
“We fully understand how disappointing this is for our supporters, in particular those who were travelling to Manchester for tonight’s match. Tickets will be valid for the match when it’s rearranged.
“As a further precautionary measure, whilst we do not believe there was any close contact with any other Arsenal guests or staff in the directors box restaurant, we are contacting them to advise they should follow the relevant advice if there has been any such contact.
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“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.”
Latest figures show 382 cases of the virus in the UK, with six deaths.
The disease, which can cause a fever, cough and breathing problems, is spreading around the world and has already affected more than 116,000 people.
It has affected the staging of sporting events around the world, including European matches involving Manchester United, Rangers and Chelsea which will be held behind closed doors in Austria and Germany in the coming days, but this is the first match in the UK to be affected.
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