Arsenal have confirmed that all players will remain at home when their 14-day period of self-isolation comes to an end.
Earlier this month the Gunners shut both London Colney and Hale End when it was confirmed that head coach Mikel Arteta had contracted Covid-19.
That news sparked a dramatic escalation in football’s response to the coronavirus outbreak with the Premier League, EFL and WSL postponing all matches until 4 April. That date has since pushed back to 30 April and it’s widely expected that further delays could be announced.
While the Gunners could, in theory, return to training tomorrow, the club has told all coaching staff and players – senior, academy and women – to stay at home.
This is in line with government advice which states that everyone in the UK should, where possible, practice social distancing in order to reduce pressures on health services and stop the spread of coronavirus.
“Our men’s first team players were scheduled to return to training on Tuesday after completing 14 days isolation following Mikel Arteta’s positive diagnosis for the virus,” a club spokesperson.
“As a result of the current situation we are clear it would be inappropriate and irresponsible to ask players to come back at this time. Therefore our men’s first team, women and academy players are all remaining at home.
“Stay at home and save lives.”
At the weekend, Arsenal confirmed a small workforce would continue to maintain the facilities at the training ground and the pitch at Emirates Stadium.
Football.London’s James Benge also reports that the club have committed to paying matchday and non-matchday casual workers until 30 April and will revisit the situation should a further delay be imposed.
Arsenal have committed to paying matchday and non-matchday casual workers until April 30. Situation will be assessed again if there are further suspensions.
— James Benge (@jamesbenge) March 23, 2020
According to various reports, Mikel Arteta has been holding daily video conference meetings with his staff and the players, who’ve been sent gym equipment, are sticking to personal training plans while they wait for further updates.
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While we’re not medical experts, it’s pretty clear the responsibility is on every single one of us to do our bit to help quell this outbreak.
So please, wherever you are, whatever your circumstances, do heed the message to stay at home.