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Arsenal's Mikel Arteta tests positive for coronavirus

Arsenal's game away to Brighton on Saturday postponed before Premier League decided to suspend all matches

Mikel Arteta the Arsenal Head Coach before the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Chelsea FC at Emirates Stadium on December 29, 2019 in London, United Kingdom.
Image: Mikel Arteta tested positive for coronavirus before all PL games were postponed

Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta has tested positive for coronavirus and their Premier League match away to Brighton on Saturday has been postponed.

Arteta, who did not attend training on Thursday, 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 was postponed 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."

Wednesday was a day off for the team so with the players last having contact with Arteta on Tuesday, it means they are now effectively three days into their self-isolation.

Managing director Vinai Venkatesham added: "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."

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    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.

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson had earlier insisted that postponing sporting events was not yet on the agenda, but the Premier League and EFL have now postponed all fixtures until April 4 and 3 respectively.

    West Ham revealed earlier on Friday that because of their game against Arsenal last week they were taking a "precautionary approach".

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    A club statement said: "Due to members of West Ham personnel being in direct contact with the Arsenal manager at our game at Emirates Stadium at the weekend, the club is taking a precautionary approach and those individuals are now self-isolating, in line with Government health guidelines.

    "The club will work with Public Health England regarding the welfare of our colleagues, their families and our supporters, which is of course our main priority at this time, and also in relation to our facilities, as well as continuing to work closely with the Premier League.

    "West Ham has already taken a number of precautionary measures in regards to its facilities and its Rush Green training ground, where the management and squad have been based all week, will undergo a further deep clean and is closed until further notice.

    "The club's other training grounds at Chadwell Heath and Little Heath, as well as London Stadium, are also being deep cleaned."

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