The English Premier League is the latest soccer league to be put on hold due to the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Premier League season is on hold. The league announced on Friday morning that play would be suspended until April 4, due to the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
The decision was made in agreement with the EFL which runs the second-division Championship and the FA which runs the Women’s Super League, putting all professional soccer in England on hold.
In the league’s statement, Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters said, “In this unprecedented situation, we are working closely with our clubs, Government, The FA and EFL and can reassure everyone the health and welfare of players, staff and supporters are our priority.”
Until Friday, the Premier League had been one of the few leagues around the world claiming they would play undeterred this weekend.
On Thursday, the Premier League released a statement saying that this weekend’s matches would still go ahead, and still be played in front of fans, but that changed after Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta and Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday. After Arteta’s positive diagnosis, the league announced an emergency meeting for Friday morning
There are nine weeks of the Premier League season remaining. The league’s statement said that, “Despite the challenges, it is the Premier League’s aim to reschedule the displaced fixtures, including those played by Academy sides, when it is safe to do so.”
Liverpool are running away with the title – their first top-flight title in 30 years and first since the formation of the Premier League – with 82 points from 27 wins, one draw and one loss, giving them a 25-point lead over second-place Manchester City. Still, there are tight races for the European places as well as the relegation spots.
Elsewhere in Europe, France’s Ligue 1 joined Spain’s La Liga and Italy’s Serie A which have already called off upcoming matches, while the German Bundesliga plans to play on this weekend behind closed doors before suspending play for the rest of the month. In the U.S. on Thursday, Major League Soccer announced that its season would suspend matches for 30 days.
For more information about COVID-19, visit the CDC’s website or the website for your state’s Department of Health.