Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta has tested positive for coronavirus and their Premier League match against Brighton on Saturday has been cancelled.
Arteta will now self-isolate in line with government health guidelines and it is expected the first-team squad – along with coaching staff – will do the same.
Arsenal’s trip to Brighton has now been called off after the Gunners closed their training ground.
Arteta said: “This is really disappointing but I took the test after feeling poorly. I will be at work as soon as I’m allowed.”
Managing director Vinai Venkatesham said: “The health of our people and the wider public is our priority and that is where our focus is.
“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.”
After Arteta’s positive test was confirmed on Thursday evening, the Premier League announced it would hold an emergency meeting on Friday morning regarding upcoming fixtures.
A statement said: “In light of Arsenal’s announcement tonight confirming that their first team coach Mikel Arteta has tested positive for COVID-19, the Premier League will convene an emergency club meeting tomorrow morning regarding future fixtures.”
Premier League had planned business as usual
Manchester City’s home match against Arsenal on Wednesday became the first to be postponed in England because players from the London club have had contact with the owner of Greek side Olympiakos – Evangelos Marinakis – who contracted the virus.
But, as other sports and nations across the world announced they would be suspending their leagues as a precaution, the Premier League issued a statement just prior to Arteta’s revelation to say that matches this weekend would go ahead as normal.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson had earlier insisted that postponing sporting events was not yet on the agenda.
The EFL also issued a statement on Thursday evening to confirm all games this weekend will go ahead. The Scottish FA and SPFL confirmed all fixtures will also go ahead as planned.
Following Arteta’s positive test, however, the Premier League will hold an emergency meeting on Friday to discuss future fixtures.