UPDATE: Chelsea have called off today’s press conference. First of what’s expected to be many cancellations today.
Chelsea have cancelled Frank Lampard’s press conference today following Callum Hudson-Odoi’s positive test for coronavirus #cfc— Jacob Steinberg (@JacobSteinberg) March 13, 2020
The Premier League and the EFL (i.e. the other three professional lower leagues in England) were all set to go ahead and conduct business as usual this weekend, not only playing all the matches scheduled but playing them in front of fans packed into stadiums up and down the country. That would’ve made England basically the only country carrying on with any pro sports of any form in Europe or North America.
The English Premier League stands alone tonight as the only major competition in world sport yet to make any public statement this week about the wider impact of #Coronavirus and how it is addressing the situation, beyond a narrow announcement of City-Arsenal being off— Rob Harris (@RobHarris) March 12, 2020
The coronavirus waits for no man however, and it has now struck close to home, with at least two confirmed cases in the Premier League, including Chelsea’s own Callum Hudson-Odoi. Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta has also tested positive for COVID-19. Both teams are self-isolating already, and Arsenal’s match against Brighton has already been called off, just like their match against Manchester City was on Wednesday.
Clearly, the league cannot proceed as boldly planned just a few hours ago. An emergency meeting has been scheduled for today (Friday), at 10:30am GMT. It is expected that the league will announce a temporary suspension of play, with matches postponed until at least after what would’ve been the upcoming international break.
Premier League to hold emergency meeting on Friday after Mikel Arteta was diagnosed with coronavirus https://t.co/tOQDBRG02S— MailOnline Sport (@MailSport) March 12, 2020
For Chelsea, this would (possibly) mean fairly minimal disruption, with only one league match (this Saturday away to Aston Villa) scheduled before the weekend of April 5th.
Chelsea are also scheduled to play Bayern in Munich next week and Leciester City in the FA Cup next weekend, but it’s unlikely that either of those games will go ahead. UEFA are meeting on Tuesday to decide how to handle the rest of the club (CL, EL) and international competitions (Euro 2020) this season, while the FA (and the EFL) will probably follow whatever the Premier League decides, and vice-versa, after their earlier agreement for a “consistent approach”.
In the best case scenario, we will basically have an extra-extended international break for the rest of this month and change (3-4 weeks). Might even come with a silver lining of getting our injured players back for the rest of the season, when (if?) we do resume play, probably next month.