Brighton and Hove Albion have announced their Premier League fixture against Arsenal has been postponed after Mikel Arteta tested positive for coronavirus.

Arsenal announced on Thursday that Arteta had the virus shortly after the Premier League had confirmed all weekend fixtures were set to go ahead as planned.

After the Arteta news broke, the Premier League then said an emergency club meeting would be held on Friday, with a suspension of matches expected as a result.

However, Brighton have already moved to confirm Saturday's home game against the Gunners will not be going ahead as Arsenal's first-team squad are going into self-isolation.

Chief executive Paul Barber said: "First and foremost our thoughts are with Mikel Arteta and we wish him a speedy recovery.

"It's absolutely essential the health and wellbeing of individuals takes priority and with that in mind Saturday’s match has been postponed.

"We apologise to all fans for any inconvenience but trust everyone will understand that we are all facing an unprecedented situation.

"The Premier League has announced this evening that they will convene an emergency meeting of all clubs tomorrow morning [Friday], and we will update supporters on future fixtures as and when we are in a position to do so."

Arteta is the highest-profile football figure to be diagnosed with the virus. Juventus defender Daniele Rugani has also tested positive for coronavirus.

Brendan Rodgers said three Leicester City players are in self-isolation after showing symptoms and Manchester City have confirmed a first-team player is self-isolating due to a family member having fallen ill. City's game against Arsenal on Wednesday was postponed amid the crisis.

Arsenal were knocked out of the Europa League last month by Olympiacos, whose owner Evangelos Marinakis later tested positive for the virus after attending the game at Emirates Stadium.

Top-flight fixtures in Italy and Spain have already been suspended while FIFA has announced this month's South American qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup have been postponed.

Premier League fixtures are to go ahead as planned, with no games played behind closed doors, despite fears over the spread of coronavirus.

Sporting events and competitions across the globe have been either postponed or cancelled altogether as governments and organisations attempt to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, prime minister Boris Johnson confirmed on Thursday the British government would not yet be cancelling large-scale public events, though that is subject to change.

Following this announcement, the Premier League – now the only major European league not to either postpone entire rounds of fixtures or play matches behind closed doors – confirmed this weekend's round of fixtures would go ahead.

The Merseyside derby is among the latest round of games, with Liverpool just two wins away from clinching a first league title since 1990.

"Following the latest update from government issued this afternoon, all Premier League matches will go ahead as scheduled this weekend," a statement on the league's official website read.

"While the prime minister advised that all sporting events should take place as normal for now, he also indicated that government is considering banning major public events, like sporting fixtures.

"We are therefore continuing to work closely with our clubs, government, The FA, EFL and other relevant stakeholders to ensure appropriate contingency plans are in place as and when circumstances change. 

"The welfare of players, staff and supporters is of paramount importance and we will continue to follow Public Health England guidelines thoroughly."

Shortly after the statement was released, Arsenal confirmed head coach Mikel Arteta had tested positive for coronavirus.

Arsenal's London Colney training centre was closed, with Arteta the first confirmed case in the Premier League.

Meanwhile, an unnamed Manchester City player – reported to be Benjamin Mendy – is self-isolating after a member of their family fell ill and was tested.

Brendan Rodgers earlier confirmed three Leicester City players had also self-isolated after showing coronavirus symptoms.

The English Football League has also confirmed matches will continue to take place until it is advised otherwise.

A Manchester City player is self-isolating as a precaution after a member of their family fell ill and was tested for coronavirus.

The player in question was not named by the club, but according to multiple media reports it is first-team left-back Benjamin Mendy.

A club spokesperson said: "The club is aware that a family member of a senior men's team player is in hospital with symptoms of a respiratory illness.

"He has undergone tests at hospital, one of which is for COVID-19. Until the results are known, the player in question is self-isolating as a precaution."

City face Burnley in the Premier League on Sunday and were due to take on Real Madrid in the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Tuesday.

However, that match was postponed after Madrid went into quarantine in the wake of one of the club's basketball players testing positive for coronavirus.

The United Kingdom has had 590 confirms cases of COVID-19 infection and 10 deaths from the virus.

Manchester City's clash with Real Madrid and Juventus' game against Lyon – both in the last 16 of the Champions League – have been postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Premier League champions City made the decision in conjunction with UEFA after Madrid established a self-imposed quarantine in the wake of a positive coronavirus test by one of their basketball players on Thursday.

Juve's game was pushed back after centre-back Daniele Rugani was found to have contracted COVID-19, with the club consequently following isolation procedures.

A City statement read: "Manchester City's Champions League fixture at home to Real Madrid has been postponed.

"The decision to postpone Tuesday's game was made in conjunction with UEFA and follows confirmation that players from Real Madrid will self-isolate for 15 days, after it emerged that a player from the club's basketball team tested positive for COVID-19.

"The club sends it best wishes to the players and staff at Real Madrid's football and basketball teams.

"Further information regarding the rescheduled date and related ticketing information will follow in due course."

The proliferation of COVID-19 in Spain has led to the next two LaLiga matchdays being suspended, having previously been due to be played behind closed doors. In Italy, all domestic sport has been prohibited until April 3.

According to the World Health Organization, there have been 2,140 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Spain and 12,462 in Italy.

Manchester City's clash with Real Madrid and Juventus' game against Lyon – both in the last 16 of the Champions League – have been postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Premier League champions City made the decision in conjunction with UEFA after Madrid established a self-imposed quarantine in the wake of a positive coronavirus test by one of their basketball players on Thursday.

Juve's game was pushed back after centre-back Daniele Rugani was found to have contracted COVID-19, with the club consequently following isolation procedures.

Manchester City have announced the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie against Real Madrid on Tuesday has been postponed.

Premier League champions City made the decision in conjunction with UEFA after Madrid established a self-imposed quarantine in the wake of a positive coronavirus test by one of their basketball players on Thursday.

Manchester City or Manchester United?

Harry Kane could reportedly leave Jose Mourinho's Tottenham at the end of the season.

And he could be playing for either Pep Guardiola or Ole Gunnar Solskjaer next term.

 

TOP STORY – CITY INTERESTED IN KANE

Manchester City want to rival Manchester United for the signature of Tottenham star Harry Kane, according to 90min.

Kane is reportedly considering his future at Tottenham and Premier League giants United have already been linked to the England striker.

Another Manchester club, City, are also interested in the 26-year-old front man.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Times says all football games in England will be played behind closed doors under government plans to combat coronavirus. The report claims the current season will not be postponed, instead matches in the Premier League and lower divisions are to be staged without fans.

City are prepared to swap players with Inter. Calciomercato reports City are determined to sign Nerazzurri centre-back Milan Skriniar and are prepared to offer full-back Joao Cancelo, who previously played for Inter on loan.

Liverpool are favourites to sign Timo Werner, however, Mundo Deportivo claims Barcelona could turn to the RB Leipzig striker if they miss out on Inter star Lautaro Martinez.

Napoli would not reject bids for star defender Kalidou Koulibaly, reports Gazzetta dello Sport. Koulibaly has been linked to the likes of United, City, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid.

- The Daily Mail says Chelsea and Tottenham are eyeing Bournemouth goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale.

Crystal Palace are targeting Chelsea outcast Michy Batshuayi, according to The Sun. Batshuayi spent the second half of last season on loan at fellow London club Palace.

Coronavirus continued to make its presence felt across worldwide elite sport on Wednesday.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) officially declared COVID-19 to be a pandemic and major American sports franchises were taking appropriate measures as European football was forced to react once more.

Sports governing bodies have also had their say, with events calendars becoming increasingly fluid.

Here are some of the latest events to be impacted.

In the United States the Golden State Warriors have confirmed their game against Brooklyn Nets on Thursday will be played behind closed doors, making them the first NBA team to make such a move following consultation with the City and County of San Francisco.

This directive also means the San Francisco Giants is working with Major League Baseball to make alternative arrangements after the planned March 24 exhibition game against the Oakland Athletics at Oracle Park was cancelled.

Seattle Mariners are hoping to relocate their opening games of the MLB regular season after Washington governor Jay Inslee announced large group events in the state would be banned throughout March.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) will stage its flagship March Madness basketball tournament "with only essential staff and limited family attendance".

Coronavirus cases in Spain have spiked, and the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) has postponed the Copa del Rey final between Real Sociedad and Athletic Bilbao.

The showpiece fixture was due to take place in Seville on April, with reports suggesting May 30 has been pencilled as a new date.

Barcelona have cancelled training sessions at their La Masia headquarters for the next 15 days, while RFEF has recommended football at all levels beneath the top two professional leagues is called off for two weeks.

In Germany, Eintracht Frankfurt announced Thursday's Europa League game against Basel will take place behind closed doors, while this weekend's derby between Hertha Berlin and Union Berlin will also take place without supporters.

Mainz's clash with Cologne is another of the forthcoming Bundesliga games where fans have been told to stay away.

The Premier League match between Manchester City and Arsenal became the first football match in England to be postponed as a coronavirus precaution and City are offering refunds on tickets to future fixtures up to and including the day of the game, acknowledging unease among supporters over taking part in large gatherings at this time.

Pep Guardiola's side have matches at home to Burnley and Real Madrid over the coming week.

CONMEBOL, the governing body for football in South America announced Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana matches held in Paraguay will take place behind closed doors, in line with local government advice.

Qatar, which will host the 2022 World Cup, will stage all remaining matches in its domestic football season without supporters, although CAF has decided to maintain its competition schedule unless the WHO declares a country in Africa to be high risk.

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has postponed the Fed Cup Finals in Budapest after Hungary's government prohibited public indoor gatherings of more than 100 people.

On their tour of Sri Lanka, the England cricket team have been told to avoid casual interaction with fans, such as selfies and autographs.

Manchester City are offering refunds to fans uneasy over attending matches because of the coronavirus outbreak.

City's Premier League match against Arsenal, which was set to take place on Wednesday, was postponed as a precaution after it emerged personnel from the London club had come into contact with Olympiacos owner Evangelos Marinakis, who has tested positive for COVID-19.

Pep Guardiola's side are due to host Burnley this weekend before their keenly anticipated Champions League last-16 return leg at home to Real Madrid, with goals from Gabriel Jesus and Kevin De Bruyne at the Santiago Bernabeu establishing a 2-1 aggregate advantage.

Both matches remain scheduled to go ahead, although City are monitoring the situation closely and keeping abreast of government advice.

As part of these steps, fans will be entitled to claim a refund for any tickets purchased to attend matches at the Etihad Stadium, up to and including the day of the game.

This is an amendment to the club's usual policy, where supporters are only able to be refunded up to seven days before a match.

Wednesday's Champions League last-16 match between Paris Saint-Germain and Borussia Dortmund will follow Tuesday's Valencia versus Atalanta game in being staged behind closed doors, while Napoli's trip to Barcelona will also take place without supporters next week.

Atletico Madrid's game at Liverpool on Wednesday featured fans from both clubs, despite a spike in coronavirus cases in the Spanish capital that persuaded the regional government to close nurseries, schools and universities until March 23. On Tuesday, the number of known cases in the Madrid region had increased from 782 to 1,024.

According to the World Health Organisation, in Spain there have been 1,639 people diagnosed and 36 deaths, with six dead in the United Kingdom from 373 instances of coronavirus.

Wednesday has seen the coronavirus outbreak take further toll on sport across the world.

Further matches have been postponed while others appear unable to go ahead due to increased travel restrictions between affected countries.

Governing bodies are also taking steps to reduce the spread of COVID-19 by cancelling planned meetings, while others are calling for further changes to the calendar.

Here are some of the latest events to be impacted.

Football's governing body has decided to cancel the next FIFA Congress in Addis Ababa on June 5. It has also pushed back the coming FIFA Council meeting in Zurich, due to be on March 20, until June or July. Attendees may be required to join via a video link.

In France, the Coupe de la Ligue final on April 4 between Paris Saint-Germain and Lyon has been postponed. The Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP) said a new date would be announced in due course. It means the PSG-Metz and Lyon-Nimes Ligue 1 matches will be moved to the weekend of April 4-5 but be held behind closed doors. PSG will have Kylian Mbappe available against Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday, though: the striker is in the squad after overcoming illness, with L'Equipe among those to report he had tested negative for coronavirus.

Germany has seen the first confirmed instance of a footballer contracting coronavirus. Hannover defender Timo Hubers has tested positive but been praised by the club for his "absolutely exemplary" behaviour, as he immediately self-isolated before coming into contact with the rest of the squad.

Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich will face Union Berlin on Saturday behind closed doors, and the latter's derby with Hertha Berlin on March 21 will take place under the same circumstances. Borussia Monchengladbach have urged fans not to gather outside the stadium ahead of Wednesday's match with Cologne.

FIFPro, the footballers' union, has urged governing bodies across the world "to respect the wishes of players to take short-term precautionary measures including suspending training or competitions". Steps are certainly being taken in Spain, where the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) has recommended football at all levels beneath the top two professional leagues to be called off for two weeks. The RFEF will reportedly meet with league officials to discuss similar proposals for LaLiga and the Segunda Division.

Meanwhile, Roma's match with Sevilla in the Europa League last 16 on Thursday is off after the Italian club confirmed they had not been given permission by the government to fly to Andalusia. Getafe had already refused to travel for their game with Inter in Italy.

The big news in England was that Manchester City versus Arsenal was called off as a precaution after the Gunners came into contact with Nottingham Forest owner Evangelos Marinakis, who announced on Tuesday that he had caught the disease. In general, though, the UK has not been following the same stringent protocols as some other European nations and that is continuing for now. Arsenal's match with Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday has not been called off, while England's planned friendlies at Wembley this month against Italy and Denmark are, at present, going ahead. Forest have also confirmed all players and staff have tested negative for coronavirus.

In Scotland, Rangers boss Steven Gerrard says the domestic season must be completed, even if behind closed doors, "because people have earned the opportunity to get to the stage where everyone is at". League chief executive Neil Doncaster claimed last week that completing the Premiership season could become "very difficult".

The England and Wales Cricket Board has told supporters "to maintain good levels of hygiene" during England's tour of Sri Lanka. As a precaution, players and staff have been told to avoid casual interaction with fans, such as selfies and autographs.

In Bangladesh, the World XI v Asia XI matches that would have marked the birthday celebrations of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman have been postponed, while the Indian Open has been called off following a consultation between the Indian Golf Union, the European Tour, the Asian Tour and tournament sponsors.

MotoGP has also announced that the Argentina Grand Prix has been moved to November. The opening race of the season in Qatar and the Grand Prix of the Americas have already been rescheduled.

The Premier League says it has no plans to postpone any other matches after Wednesday's clash between Manchester City and Arsenal was called off as a precaution due to coronavirus.

City were scheduled to host Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium midweek, however, the fixture will not take place in Manchester based on medical advice.

The decision comes "after it emerged that personnel from Arsenal have come into contact with the Olympiacos and Nottingham Forest owner, Evangelos Marinakis, who has been named as a positive case of COVID-19."

Arsenal added that their players will self-isolate at home for 14 days, while four staff members will also remain at home until the two weeks are complete – dating back to the last time they had contact 13 days ago.

In a statement, the Premier League said: "We understand this will cause inconvenience and cost to fans planning to attend the game but Arsenal, Manchester City and the Premier League have agreed that the short notice of Mr Marinakis' infection means there is no alternative but to take the time to complete a proper assessment of risk.

"All necessary measures are being taken and the Premier League currently has no plans to postpone any other matches."

Pep Guardiola's City are due to host Burnley on Saturday, while Arsenal travel to relegation-threatened Brighton and Hove Albion on the same day.

Italy has been the hardest hit by coronavirus outside of China, with Serie A and all sporting activities suspended until April 3 following more than 10,100 cases and 600 deaths.

More than 3,000 people have died in China, while there have been six deaths and more than 380 cases in the United Kingdom.

Manchester City's Premier League clash with Arsenal has been postponed as a precaution due to coronavirus.

City were scheduled to host Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday, however, the fixture will not take place in Manchester midweek.

The decision comes based on medical advice, "after it emerged that personnel from Arsenal have come into contact with the Olympiacos and Nottingham Forest owner, Evangelos Marinakis, who has been named as a positive case of COVID-19."

"Manchester City FC wishes Mr Marinakis a speedy recovery, and further information will follow in the coming days about rescheduled dates, but supporters are advised not to travel to Etihad Stadium for this fixture," City said in a statement.

Arsenal added that their players will self-isolate at home for 14 days, while four staff members will also remain at home until the two weeks are complete.

The Gunners' statement places upcoming matches against Brighton and Hove Albion (March 14) and Sheffield United (March 22) in doubt.

Premier League outfit Wolves have already called for Thursday's Europa League last-16 first leg against Olympiacos to be postponed after Marinakis tested positive for COVID-19 in Greece, however, UEFA rejected the request.

The clash is already being played behind closed doors amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Italy has been the hardest hit by coronavirus outside of China, with Serie A and all sporting activities suspended until April 3 following more than 10,100 cases and 600 deaths.

More than 3,000 people have died in China, while there have been six deaths and more than 380 cases in the United Kingdom.

Pep Guardiola is confident Raheem Sterling will soon get back on the goal trail after a tough run of form at Manchester City.

England forward Sterling enjoyed a prolific start to the campaign that included hat-tricks against West Ham and Atalanta.

However, he is now scoreless in 12 matches, with the last of his 20 goals in all competitions coming when he netted a brace in a 3-2 Premier League defeat to Wolves in December.

A hamstring injury further compromised the 25-year-old and, although he produced a telling cameo from the bench in City's 2-1 Champions League comeback win at Real Madrid last month, his trails in the opposition penalty area were again laid bare during Sunday's 2-0 derby loss at Manchester United.

Nevertheless, much like goalkeeper Ederson – whose two mistakes led to United's goals – manager Guardiola has no fears over Sterling's levels of belief heading into Wednesday's Premier League match against Arsenal.

"He's incredibly positive, especially in the fact that when he misses one chance he tries again," he said.

"He was injured for two or three weeks and sometimes you need a little bit more time, but he's coming back.

"I never was so much worried about these kind of actions, like Ederson last time. It happens.

"These are the guys who suffer the most. When it happens they have been supported and we try to let them feel we are here for them.

"Sometimes you speak with them and sometimes you leave them free. They are so mature to understand what they have to do."

City's attack was unusually toothless in the Old Trafford derby, with a left-sided berth for Gabriel Jesus one option available to Guardiola in terms of freshening things up.

A centre-forward by trade, the Brazil international has played on the flank for his country and excelled out wide before scoring at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Deploying Jesus on the left of a front three could give Sterling a chance to freshen up on the right of City's all-time top scorer Sergio Aguero, although the specific characteristics of opponents and the identity of his full-backs – Benjamin Mendy and Oleksandr Zinchenko offering very different interpretations of the left-back role – will also be factored into Guardiola's thinking.

"I think Gabriel can adapt perfectly in that way, especially as he doesn't play wide, wide wide," he explained.

"He can play a little bit more inside like how Arsenal play with Aubameyang. Gabriel can play perfectly in that position and in the games he played he played really well."

Leroy Sane, a specialist on the left wing, could make his long-awaited return from knee ligament surgery against Arsenal and Guardiola added: "Sometimes we need more specific winger in that position, it depends on the quality of our full-backs as well.

"To attack a defence with five players in the back and so deep, you have to make the pitch wide. If you don't it is more difficult."

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola believes the football season should be suspended if the alternative is a raft of games taking place behind closed doors.

Fans are set to be present for City's rescheduled Premier League game against Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday, but a growing number of fixtures across Europe will be staged before empty stands in response to the outbreak of coronavirus.

All sporting activity in Italy has been suspended until April 3, with Serie A side Atalanta contesting their Tuesday Champions League trip to Valencia in the absence of the paying public.

Manchester United's Europa League visit to LASK in Austria and next week's Barcelona v Napoli and Bayern Munich v Chelsea Champions League encounters are now also behind-closed-doors matches, as are all games in Ligue 1 and LaLiga over the coming weeks.

The Premier League taking similar steps is something Guardiola feels is inevitable but he bridled at the prospects of large chunks of remaining fixtures this season taking place in such circumstances – stating suspending matches altogether would be preferable.

"I understand for a short time, one game, okay. But if it is longer it must be suspended. There is no reason to play without the people," said the City boss, whose team entertain Burnley on Saturday before a sell-out Champions League showdown against Real Madrid next Tuesday.

"This [football] is for the people. It is like an actor going to the theatre to act and nobody being there that night. It's for the people.

"I understand we have to see what happens in the next weeks. Maybe the instances will go down, maybe it will solve the problems. Okay, continue with the games and the competitions.

"But now Barcelona v Napoli will be behind closed doors, Bayern Munich v Chelsea will be behind closed doors. It happened in Germany as well, I think it is going to happen soon here.

"When that happens for a short time it is okay, but for four, five or six games makes no sense."

Guardiola was keen to state the primary concern should go beyond matters of sports scheduling, with the global death toll from COVID-19 having now topped 4,000.

"The first thing is the health of the people. That is the terms of what is best – for humanity and how we take care of ourselves," he added.

"It is not just about one country, one city or one specific place. It is all around the world. There are many cases.

"What speaks for itself is every day [instances of coronavirus] are growing. The same thing happened in China and especially in Italy, where they have absolutely cancelled the league and the people must stay at home.

"Will it happen here? I don't know the way they are going to control it in other places."

Mikel Arteta has hailed Pep Guardiola as the bravest manager in football ahead of his reunion with the Manchester City boss when Arsenal travel to the Etihad Stadium.

Arteta will lead the Gunners for the first time against his former employers on Wednesday, having served as a key member of Guardiola's backroom staff for a decorated three-and-a-half-year period.

The pair have remained in regular contact since Arteta stepped up to succeed Unai Emery at Emirates Stadium last December and he feels the ex-Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss stands apart in the modern game.

"For me the first thing is his values as a person, that stands in front of everything," he said.

"The way he treats the players, the way he treats people, the way he looks after the football club when he is there, that's the first one.

"The second one is the clear ideas he has, how he is going to implement them and the plan he puts together to do that.
 
"And after because he is braver than any other manager and wants to take more risks and wants to play the way he wants and it does not matter what, he will maintain that line. 

"I never heard a player doubt, 'can we play like this or should we play like this'. They are all so convinced as he does not leave one drop of a doubt what needs to be done."

Arteta also praised the City hierarchy for backing Guardiola's methods after a trophy-less first season in England in 2016-17, especially given six of the subsequent seven major domestic honours have ended up in east Manchester.

"After the first season I think the process was really good but we did not win any trophies. And instead of anybody above - owners, sporting directors, or anyone who were involved - doubting that [playing Guardiola's style] was possible to do in England, they were all in," he explained.

"This is the way that we want to do it. So that is good, your idea is good, but you need the backing of the football club to support your ideas and get your backing and put that plan to support and be successful. And look what happened after."

Nevertheless, Arteta was keen to assert the side he is beginning to build at Arsenal will not simply amount to Guardiola-lite.

“If you copy paste it is always bad," he added. "You have to be around every character and person. Everyone feels thing in different way.

"It is a completely different context with the situations at City and Arsenal. Different context and players. So I think it would be a bad thing to do from my side."

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