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Mikel Arteta tests positive for coronavirus

Ciaran Bradley
Ciaran Bradley

22:30 12 Mar 2020

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has tested positive for coronavirus.

The Spaniard is the first high-profile sporting individual to test positive, after the club placed several players into self-isolation.

It comes after Evangelos Marinakis, the Olympiakos and Nottingham Forest owner, visited the club just two weeks before being diagnosed.

Arsenal released a club statement on Thursday evening:

"Our London Colney training centre has been closed after head coach Mikel Arteta received a positive COVID-19 result this evening.

Arsenal personnel who had recent close contact with Mikel will now self-isolate in line with Government health guidelines. We expect this to be a significant number of people from Colney, including the full first-team squad and coaching staff, as well as a smaller number of people from our Hale End Academy which we have also temporarily closed as a precaution.

We expect those who did not have close contact with Mikel to return to work in the coming days. In the meantime our Colney and Hale End training centres will undergo a deep clean and our other club sites are operating as normal.

Managing director Vinai Venkatesham said: “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.”

Head of football Raul Sanllehi added: “Mikel and the full first-team squad, players and staff, will be fully supported, and we look forward to getting back to training and playing as soon as medical advice allows. Obviously Mikel’s full recovery is the priority now for us all.”

We will work with Public Health England on the next steps in regard to our facilities and staff, and with the Premier League, Football Association and relevant clubs around our forthcoming matches in the Premier League and Emirates FA Cup.

It is clear we will not be able to play some fixtures on their currently scheduled dates. We will update supporters who have tickets for forthcoming games with more information as soon as possible.

We are now working to trace any other people who have had recent close contact with Mikel.  We will let them know what has happened and they should follow the NHS guidance which is likely to recommend self-isolation.

Mikel said: “This is really disappointing but I took the test after feeling poorly. I will be at work as soon as I’m allowed.”

Premier League

The news comes just hours after the Premier League confirmed that games will go ahead this weekend.

In a statement, the Premier League said:

"Following the latest update from Government issued this afternoon, all Premier League matches will go ahead as scheduled this weekend.

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.

We will keep everyone updated as appropriate."

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