Football clubs across Europe have been taking active steps to prevent the spread of coronavirus, but now a manager in England’s top-flight league has officially tested positive. On Thursday, Premier League club Arsenal announced that manager Mikel Arteta tested positive and club personnel who recently came in contact with him will now self-isolate as a precaution.
“This is really disappointing but I took the test after feeling poorly,” said the former Gunner, via a statement from the club. “I will be at work as soon as I’m allowed.”
Unlike other federations across Europe, the Premier League had not yet canceled this weekend’s matches to prevent the illness from spreading. As a result of Arteta’s diagnosis, however, league officials will hold an emergency meeting on Friday in order to discuss this weekend’s upcoming fixtures.
Arsenal managing director Vinai Venkatesham said in the same statement: “The health of our people and the wider public is our priority and that is where our focus is. Our thoughts are with Mikel who is disappointed but in good spirits. 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.”
Due to play Brighton Saturday morning at 11 a.m. EST, there’s a likely chance that due to the nature of the 37-year-old’s revelation, the contest may not go on as scheduled.
Manchester City Player Self-Isolating
While he himself has not been diagnosed with coronavirus, Manchester City left back Benjamin Mendy has decided to quarantine himself after a family member checked into the hospital fearing symptoms mirroring the coronavirus.
“The club is aware that a family member of a senior men’s team player is in hospital with symptoms of a respiratory illness,” said City in a statement, via BBC.
The French national is undergoing testing at a hospital which is also identified as a facility treating COVID-19 patients and the club adds that results of the test have not yet been revealed.
Three Leicester City athletes have also decided to self-isolate after showing similar signs of coronavirus. While manager Brendan Rogers did not specify which players are undergoing quarantine, he did mention that a few “have shown symptoms and signs.”
Via a statement from the club: “All three players were subsequently advised by NHS 111 that their symptoms were consistent with common seasonal illness and that a seven-day period of self-isolation was appropriate as a precaution. There was no recommendation that further testing would be necessary. The club is in regular contact with the relevant players, whose symptoms remain mild and self-manageable.”
The Foxes are scheduled to play Watford Saturday morning at 8:30 a.m. EST.
Arteta Joins the List of Sports Figures Who Tested Positive for COVID-19
Stateside, two NBA players have already been confirmed to have the virus, which originated in Asia and in the last several weeks has rapidly traveled across across various continents.
Utah Jazz star Rudy Gobert tested positive for coronavirus on Wednesday, causing NBA officials to suspend the league indefinitely. On Thursday, teammate Donavan Mitchell also tested positive. The French-born player released a statement apologizing for not taking the global pandemic seriously after he received a considerable amount of criticism for making light of the situation prior to his own diagnosis.