A joint announcement from the Football Association, Premier League, EFL, Women’s Super League and Women’s Championship confirmed the professional game would be postponed in England until April 3 at the earliest.
The postponement takes in England’s two friendlies against Italy and Denmark on March 27 and 31.
“This action, which will be kept under constant review, has been taken due to the increasing numbers of clubs taking steps to isolate their players and staff because of the Covid-19 virus,” a statement said.
“It will also apply to all England team fixtures at every level and all FA competitions including the FA Cup and the Women’s FA Cup, along with academy and youth-team matches.
“The decision is being made purely on the number of cases requiring self-isolation and the impact on facilities. Given the steps being taken across clubs, there is no alternative but for today’s action.
“However, all parties are committed at this time to trying to complete this season’s domestic fixture programme and are liaising to establish appropriate options to do so.”
It follows the news that Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta and Chelsea forward Callum Hudson-Odoi have contracted the virus.
Three Leicester players are also being tested, while Everton announced on Thursday that the squad was in self-isolation after a player reported symptoms consistent with the virus.
Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters said as part of the Premier League’s separate statement: “Above all, we wish Mikel Arteta and Callum Hudson-Odoi speedy recoveries, and everyone else affected by COVID-19.
“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 statement added: ‘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.’
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