Reading v Stoke City: Latest EFL coronavirus guidance as Nottingham Forest owner tests positive, Man City v Arsenal postponed



EFL games remain scheduled to take place as normal this weekend as Europe tries to tackle the spread of coronavirus.

Tonight’s Premier League clash between Manchester City and Arsenal has been postponed as a precautionary measure. Several Arsenal players are in self-isolation after the owner of Olympiakos, who they played last week, tested positive for coronavirus.

Marinakis also owns Nottingham Forest and had been in the stands for a 3-0 defeat to Millwall on Friday night. Forest have been  in discussion with the English Football League  about the situation, and are also “seeking advice from medical professionals”.

Forest take on Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough on Saturday.

“The recent virus has ‘visited’ me and I felt obliged to let the public know,” Marinakis posted on Instagram.

“I feel good as I take all the necessary measures and I discipline to the doctors’ instructions.

“I strongly advise all my fellow citizens to do the same. I wish all a quick recovery.”

Leeds United owner Andrea Radrizzani sent him the message: “Wish you a prompt recovery, be strong Evangelos.”

He added: “It’s a global health crisis that we can win all together changing our habits in every day life. We are going into a difficult period but we can make it and come out stronger.

“Let’s support and protect the weak and elderly.”

The French government has banned all gatherings of more than 1,000 people and games in Spain’s top two divisions will be played behind closed doors until at least April 15.

There will be no spectators allowed at Borussia Monchengladbach’s Bundesliga match Cologne tonight, as well as at least five of nine top flight matches over the weekend.

Union Berlin’s match against Bayern Munich is unaffected at present but decisions are pending on the other three games.

Several Champions League games will also take place behind closed doors.

A statement from the EFL said: “The EFL remains in close contact with Nottingham Forest after it was revealed owner Evangelos Marinakis had tested positive for COVID-19 (aka Coronavirus).

“The League is in dialogue to fully ascertain the set of circumstances that existed when Mr Marinakis visited the club last week and in conjunction with the Club will make a determination on what measures are to be taken – if any – when full details are known.

“We understand the club is taking the appropriate steps to mitigate risk in line with relevant guidance provided by the health authorities.

“The Government guidance remains unchanged on the position of EFL matches taking place as scheduled.”

There is doubt whether Michael O’Neill’s Euro 2020 play-off for Northern Ireland against Bosnia in Zenica will or not be played behind closed doors, as has already been decided for Slovakia against the Republic of Ireland.

The next two rounds of fixtures in Bosnian domestic football will be played behind-closed-doors and local media are reporting that gatherings of more than 250 in Sarajevo have been suspended by local government.

O’Neill said: “Players are just going to have to adapt.

“Northern Ireland did play behind closed doors under the previous manager (against Serbia under Nigel Worthington) and that will have been a game some of our players were involved in. They’ll have some level of experience for that.

“For the home nation it’s a bigger blow to be honest. It’s a home advantage to play in front of a volatile, hostile crowd. That was a big factor in the Nations League game.

“Both sets of players will have to deal with a surreal atmosphere if it comes to that, given what’s at stake in the game as well.”





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