English football cancelled until at least 3rd April amid virus outbreak

It means many of Huddersfield Town's and Bradford City's upcoming matches are postponed.

Games in the Premier League and all other top level English fixtures have been suspended until 3 April over the coronavirus pandemic.

It comes after English football chiefs met to discuss their response to the coronavirus outbreak, as Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta and Chelsea star Callum Hudson-Odoi were diagnosed with COVID-19.

Three Leicester City players are also being tested for COVID-19, while Everton announced on Thursday that the squad was in self-isolation after a player reported symptoms consistent with the virus.

Games in the English Football League, the three divisions below the Premier League, will also be suspended until the same date.

For Bradford City it means their upcoming fixtures with Leyton Orient, Port Vale, Macclesfield Town and Exeter City will be postponed. 

Huddersfield Town's games with Wigan Athletic, Nottingham Forest and Birmingham City are off too.

England's two friendlies later this month at Wembley, the Women's Super League and FA Women's Championship have also been postponed.

The decision was revealed in a joint announcement from the Football Association, Premier League, EFL, Women's Super League and Women's Championship.

"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," a statement said.

"It will also apply to all England team fixtures at every level and all FA competitions including the FA Cup and the Women's FA Cup, along with academy and youth-team matches.

"The decision is being made purely on the number of cases requiring self-isolation and the impact on facilities. Given the steps being taken across clubs, there is no alternative but for today's action.

"However, all parties are committed at this time to trying to complete this season's domestic fixture programme and are liaising to establish appropriate options to do so."

Meanwhile, European football's governing body UEFA has announced that all Champions League and Europa League matches scheduled for next week have been postponed.

Other top-flight leagues in Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Portugal and Ireland suspended matches earlier this week as the outbreak spreads across Europe.

English football had been told to carry on as normal by the government which said the risk of catching COVID-19 in a stadium was low.

The government's advice on mass gatherings in England and Wales has not changed, despite the UK moving to the "delay" phase of its coronavirus response on Thursday.

However, the spread of COVID-19 among competitors has forced the hand of the footballing authorities.

The COVID-19 pandemic has seen a number of sports tournaments and competitions put on hold around the world as well, including the NBA basketball season and all of the US PGA's scheduled golf tournaments for the next three weeks.

England's cricket tour of Sri Lanka has been cut short, but the Six Nations match between Wales and Scotland in Cardiff on Sunday is still due to go ahead at the moment.

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