Arsenal boss's diagnoses triggered season suspension

          Arteta on contracting coronavirus, “everything happened so fast”

          2020/03/23 18:06
          By Connor Andrews

          Mikel Arteta, the first Premier League representative to contract COVID-19, today opened up on his experience, as his diagnoses became the trigger for the suspension of the English league season.

          Arteta tested positive on March 12th, a day after his Arsenal side’s league fixture with Manchester City was postponed, as it was revealed several of his first team squad had gone into self-isolation following contact with Olympiacos owner Evangelos Marinakis.

          Marinakis had become one of the first big names in world football to be diagnosed with the virus, and had been in contact with several people in the sport as the owner of Olympiacos and Nottingham Forest, including Arsenal’s squad.

          “Everything happened so fast,” said Arteta. “On Tuesday afternoon I was feeling so-so and I went to see the doctor but he wasn’t there. I got a call from the board of directors after training while I was in my car and they told me the president of Olympiakos had tested positive and everyone who had been in contact was at risk.

          “I went on to tell them that I wasn’t feeling well and that we had a situation because we had lots of players that had been in contact with them. We had a game against Manchester City the next day and obviously we couldn’t put lots of people at risk without saying anything.”

          Although it’s not been confirmed which Arsenal players had to go into quarantine, Arteta was the first big name in English sport to be positively diagnosed, his sides match with Brighton on the Sunday was then postponed, before the entire Premier League fixture list was called off.

          Arteta explained, “I had the test done last Wednesday and I was diagnosed on Friday, when we had to communicate it to the Premier League that I had tested positive, obviously all those who had been in contact with me had to go into quarantine, and consequently games had to be suspended.

          “I feel very well now, I feel that I have recovered, it took me three or four days to start feeling better, with more energy, to leave the symptoms behind."

          Arsenal’s players were scheduled to return to training on Tuesday following a two week isolation period, but that timeframe has been extended indefinitely as the severity of this virus becomes clear.

          Arteta went on, “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," said the north London club in a statement.

          "Therefore our men's first team, women and academy players are all remaining at home. Stay at home and save lives."


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