English Premier League Suspended Until April Due to Coronavirus Outbreak

The English Premier League has been suspended until next month, becoming the latest sports league to fall victim to the coronavirus outbreak.

On Friday morning, the Football Association (FA) announced games in the Premier League and EFL—which governs the second, third and fourth tier of professional soccer in England—will be suspended until April 3.

Games in the FA Cup and the women's super league will also be suspended.

"The Premier League, FA, EFL and WSL have collectively agreed to postpone the professional game in England," the Premier League said in a statement.

"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.

"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 to reschedule the displaced fixtures, when it is safe to do so."

The FA added England's game against Italy on 27 March is also postponed, as is its fixture against Denmark four days later.

On Thursday night, the Premier League and the EFL had insisted games would go ahead as scheduled this weekend, but called an emergency meeting for Friday after it emerged Arsenal coach Mikel Arteta had tested positive to coronavirus.

Chelsea midfielder Callum Hudson-Odoi has also tested positive, while Leicester City and Bournemouth have respectively placed three and four players in self-isolation. On Friday, Everton confirmed its entire team had been self-isolated.

The Premier League's decision came just hours after UEFA—European soccer's governing body—announced all Champions League and Europa League games were suspended indefinitely.

A number of games in both competitions were played without fans this week, with a host of fixtures in Germany also set to ahead behind closed doors this weekend. On Thursday, La Liga, Spain's top-flight soccer league, was suspended for two weeks and Real Madrid players were told to self-isolate due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The French and Italian leagues are also suspended, as is the MLS.

As of the time of writing, there are over 580 reported cases of coronavirus in the U.K., with 12 deaths, according to figures released by Public Health England.

Over 4,700 people have died since the outbreak of coronavirus began in Wuhan, a city located in China's central Hubei province, late last year. There are over 128,000 cases globally, with 68,000 recovered.

On Thursday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson conceded as many as 10,000 people in the country were probably already infected with coronavirus and that Britain was moving from the "contain" phase of the crisis to the "delay."

Premier League, Manchester United
Anthony Martial of Manchester United controls the ball during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Manchester City at Old Trafford on March 8 in Manchester, United Kingdom. Michael Regan/Getty
English Premier League Suspended Until April Due to Coronavirus Outbreak | Sports