All league football in England has been suspended until at least 3 April as a result of the spread of coronavirus.
All Premier League games, EFL fixtures and matches in the FA Cup quarterfinals, FA Women’s Super League and Women’s Championship have been postponed.
The English topflight is expected to resume on 4 April “subject to medical advice and conditions at the time” the Premier League said.
The EFL, which hopes to resume play a day earlier than the Premier League on 3 April, said clubs were also advised to suspend “non-essential activities” such as “player appearances, training ground visits and fan meetings”.
The suspension comes on an unprecedented day of cancellations. Football league programmes in Spain, Portugal, Holland and the United States were suspended alongside postponements in rugby, tennis, golf, basketball and athletics.
It follows the positive coronavirus diagnosis returned by Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta who became the first Premier League figure to contract the virus late on Thursday.
Chelsea also revealed that winger Callum Hudson-Odoi tested positive for the virus early on Friday while Everton and Leicester have players in quarantine who have shown symptoms.
Earlier this week, several clubs – including Arsenal, Chelsea, Bournemouth, Manchester City, Juventus and Real Madrid – revealed they have either all or some of their playing staff in self-isolation.
Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said: “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.”
The Premier League said its “aim is to reschedule the displaced fixtures”, while the Football Association said “all parties are committed at this time to trying to complete this season’s domestic fixture programme”.
In total, 10 people have now died in the UK with the virus and there have been 596 confirmed cases across the country.
The EFL said: “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.”