SUSPENDED: Norwich City’s Premier League fixtures postponed to April 4 due to coronavirus
PUBLISHED: 11:58 13 March 2020 | UPDATED: 15:46 13 March 2020
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The Premier League has announced the competition will be suspended until April 4 due to the coronavirus outbreak - meaning Norwich City’s fixture with Southampton on Saturday has been postponed.
The governing body has reached the decision after consulting with all 20 members following the news that Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta and Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi had tested positive for COVID-19.
Arsenal's statement confirming the result of Arteta's test came just 30 minutes after the Premier League announced this weekend's games would take place.
That news prompted the Premier League to call an emergency meeting over video conference on Friday morning and all 20 clubs opted to take a unified approach to suspending the competition.
The news means that Norwich City's fixtures against Southampton and FA Cup quarter-final against Manchester United at Carrow Road will be played at a later date. The Canaries next scheduled fixture will be a trip to Arsenal on April 4.
Manchester City's Benjamin Mendy, three players of Leicester City and the entirety of Everton's first-team squad are all self-isolating due to fears over COVID-19.
UEFA are set to hold a meeting on Tuesday discussing the possibility of cancelling the European Championships scheduled for this summer by a year.
That move would allow for domestic seasons to be completed later than stated on the fixture calendar. The EFL have also announced a suspension of fixtures - meaning none of the top four leagues in England will play.
Footballing competitions around the globe have been affected by coronavirus, including the Bundesliga in Germany, Serie A in Italy, Ligue 1 in France and LA Liga in Spain - all of which have been affected by the outbreak.
Prime minister Boris Johnson advanced the country's response to the global pandemic on Thursday, moving the UK into the 'delay' phase of tackling the virus.
The government described the virus as being 'the worst public health crisis for a generation', although didn't call for major sporting events to be cancelled in their statement on Thursday.
The Premier League's statement stated: 'Following a meeting of Shareholders today, it was unanimously decided to suspend the Premier League with the intention of returning on 4 April, subject to medical advice and conditions at the time.
'Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters said: '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.'
'Despite the challenges, it is the Premier League's aim is to reschedule the displaced fixtures, including those played by Academy sides, when it is safe to do so.
'In this fast-moving environment, further updates will be provided when appropriate.'
Norwich City added: 'Following an emergency meeting, shareholders have unanimously decided to suspend the Premier League with the intention of returning on April 4.
'The emergency shareholder meeting had been called after Arsenal confirmed their Head Coach Mikel Arteta had tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19).
'As a result the club's upcoming Premier League game against Southampton and FA Cup tie against Manchester United will not take place as scheduled.
'The health, safety and wellbeing of all staff, players and supporters continues to be the club's absolute priority. The club continue to be guided and advised by the Premier League, government and NHS with regards to next steps.
'Any further communication and updates will be issued by the club in due course.'