Football | Premier League, EFL suspended until April

The Premier League and the EFL have both been suspended until the first weekend on April due to fears over the spread of COVID-19.

The Premier League will return on Saturday, April 4th, with the EFL returning a day earlier.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta and Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi have both tested positive for the virus in recent days, and the respective leagues have now decided to postpone all remaining fixtures in March.

Players from Leicester City, Watford and Everton have also shown symptoms of the coronavirus, with all clubs taking cautionary measures and using self-isolation to contain potential outbreaks.

“The FA, Premier League, EFL and Barclays FA Women’s Super League and FA Women’s Championship have collectively agreed to postpone the professional game in England until 3 April at the earliest,” a statement read.

“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.

“The postponements include all matches in the Championship, League One and League Two, as well as all Academy and youth team fixtures.

“In addition, clubs are being advised to suspend indefinitely all non-essential activities which include, but are not limited to, player appearances, training ground visits and fan meetings.

“Whilst the EFL board has continued to take the advice and guidance offered by the Government and its health advisors, emerging developments mean now is the time to implement football’s contingency plans in response to the crisis.

“A further update on these plans will be given post an EFL board meeting next week.

“This decision has not been taken lightly, but the EFL must prioritise the health and well-being of players, staff and supporters while also acknowledging the Government’s national efforts in tackling this outbreak.”

The FA has also postponed England’s international friendly matches against Italy and Denmark, with FIFA recommending that all international matches scheduled to be played in March and April be postponed.