Coronavirus: Premier League and EFL suspended in England – Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland halt games

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Elite football in Britain has been suspended until at least 3 April as a result of the spread of coronavirus.

All games in England’s Premier League, EFL, FA Women’s Super League and Women’s Championship are postponed.

The Premier League said play will start on 4 April subject to “conditions at the time” but BBC sports editor Dan Roan says resuming on the date is privately deemed “almost impossible”.

Matches in Scotland,Wales and Northern Ireland are also off.

England’s international friendly matches against Italy on 27 March and Denmark four days later are off.

The EFL, which hopes to resume play a day earlier than the Premier League on 3 April, said clubs were also advised to suspend “non-essential activities” such as “player appearances, training ground visits and fan meetings”.

The suspension comes on a day of widespread sporting postponements worldwide.

Uefa has postponed next week’s Champions League and Europa League fixtures.

Late on Thursday it was announced Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta had tested positive for the virus, and early on Friday Chelsea striker Callum Hudson-Odoi revealed he had been affected, while Everton say a first-team player has shown symptoms.

Earlier this week, several clubs – including Arsenal, Chelsea, Leicester City, Bournemouth, Manchester City, Juventus and Real Madrid – revealed they have either all or some of their playing staff in self-isolation.

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.”

The Premier League said its “aim is to reschedule the displaced fixtures”, while the Football Association said “all parties are committed at this time to trying to complete this season’s domestic fixture programme”.

In total, 10 people have now died in the UK with the virus and there have been 596 confirmed cases across the country.

On Thursday Prime Minister Boris Johnson said suspending major public events such as sporting fixtures was being considered by the government but would be a measure primarily to protect public services, rather than delay the spread.

The EFL said: “This decision has not been taken lightly, but the EFL must prioritise the health and well-being of players, staff and supporters while also acknowledging the government’s national efforts in tackling this outbreak.”

Football has also been suspended in Italy, Spain, France, the Netherlands, Portugal and the USA.

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