The spread of the coronavirus has been viewed as a serious issue for quite some time now, but it appears as if we’re finally getting to a point where the remainder of the season for domestic leagues across Europe is in huge jeopardy.
Late last night it was confirmed that Manchester City’s game against Arsenal in the Premier League tonight, which had already been rescheduled once, will now be rescheduled again as there are fears some Arsenal players and staff may have contracted the virus after meeting Olympiacos owner Evangelos Marinakis after their Europa League game two weeks ago. Marinakis, as we now know, has indeed contracted the coronavirus.
A necessary precaution
The following statement has been issued by Arsenal Football Club.
“Following yesterday’s news that Olympiacos owner Evangelos Marinakis has recently contracted Covid-19, we have been taking medical advice and tracing any individuals who had what the guidelines define as close contact with him at the game 13 days ago.
As a result of this exercise we identified that a number of players met the Olympiacos owner immediately following the game.
The medical advice we have received puts the risk of them developing Covid-19 at extremely low. However, we are strictly following the Government guidelines which recommend that anyone coming into close contact with someone with the virus should self-isolate at home for 14 days from the last time they had contact.
As a result, the players are unavailable for tonight’s match against Manchester City and the Premier League has decided the game should be postponed.
The players will remain at their homes until the 14-day period expires. Four Arsenal staff – who were sitting close to Mr Marinakis during the match – will also remain at home until the 14 days are complete.
What does the future hold?
We fully understand how disappointing this is for our supporters, in particular those who were travelling to Manchester for tonight’s match. Tickets will be valid for the match when it’s rearranged.”
The 14-day period looks set to expire tomorrow with players and staff members returning to training on Friday, which should mean that the game against Brighton this weekend should still be going ahead as planned.
Alas, this is clearly no longer a situation that can be contained as easily as was once thought. While many people reading this won’t need to concern themselves with the idea of contracting it, mainly because it mainly targets the elderly, that fact alone should be enough of a reason to try everything we can to get it under control.
Football is important to many of us but it certainly isn’t a case of life and death, as is the case with the virus right now.
Many fans are worried about the state of the Euros this summer as well as the Olympics and the Champions League, but for now, this appears to be the kind of issue that needs to be taken one day at a time.
Hopefully, the City vs Arsenal game will be rebooked sooner rather than later.