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News that Mikel Arteta has been diagnosed with the illness could prompt governing body to reverse their decision

The Premier League has scheduled an emergency meeting for Friday barely an hour after confirming that weekend fixtures would go ahead as planned.

The spread of the disease has caused several games to be postponed across Europe, while Wednesday’s the Premier League match between Manchester City and Arsenal was called off hours before kick-off. 

Some Arsenal players had gone into quarantine after coming into contact with the president of Olympiacos, their recent Europa League opponents, who announced he tested positive for the disease.

Then on Thursday, the Gunners announced that coach Mikel Arteta has also contracted it.

That revelation caused the Premier League to call a meeting with clubs in order to determine whether the weekend’s action can be played as scheduled. 

“In light of Arsenal’s announcement tonight confirming that their first-team coach Mikel Arteta has tested positive for COVID-19, the Premier League will convene an emergency club meeting tomorrow morning regarding future fixtures. The Premier League will make no further comment until after that meeting,” the body explained.

A source has told Goal that a Manchester City player, understood to be Benjamin Mendy, is self-isolating after a relative of his was taken to hospital with fears of having caught Covid-19. 

Also, three Leicester players have been isolated from the squad after displaying flu-like symptoms. 

Despite the increase in the number of cases, it had been announced earlier on Thursday that the English top-flight will not be suspended and this weekend’s games will be played as normal.

“Following the latest update from Government issued this afternoon, all Premier League matches will go ahead as scheduled this weekend,” a statement on the Premier League website read.

“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.”

Meanwhile, Ligue 1 has been suspended for the time being, as the French Football Federation confirmed on Thursday that it has cancelled all competitions indefinitely.

President Emmanuel Macron announced on Thursday that from Monday France will close all nurseries, schools and universities to try to slow the spread of the disease.

UEFA have decided to postpone Manchester City’s Champions League match against Real Madrid, while Juventus‘ meeting with Lyon has also been called off. 

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Italy is the European country that has been most heavily affected by Covid-19, as more than 1,000 people have died as a result of the disease.

Serie A has been suspended indefinitely, while public gatherings have been banned. Spain‘s La Liga is also on hiatus for at least the next two weekends.

This week, it was revealed that Juventus defender Daniele Rugani has been diagnosed with the coronavirus.

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