EPL: Liverpool Leave It Late To See Off Aston Villa

liverpool
Liverpool’s Senegalese striker Sadio Mane (L) celebrates scoring his team’s first goal during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Aston Villa at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on July 5, 2020. Shaun Botterill / POOL / AFP

 

Sadio Mane and Curtis Jones struck in the final 20 minutes to ensure Liverpool marked their first match at Anfield since being crowned Premier League champions with a 2-0 win over struggling Aston Villa on Sunday.

After a 4-0 humbling at the hands of Manchester City in midweek, Jurgen Klopp’s men again failed to hit the heights that made them runaway leaders before a three-month hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But Mane’s sweet strike off the underside of the bar and Jones’s deflected effort kept up a run of 24 consecutive league wins at Anfield for the Reds and left Villa still languishing in the bottom three.

Klopp has insisted he will not dish out appearances “like Christmas presents” in the final month of the campaign as Liverpool eye a record points tally in English top-flight history.

The German made just three alterations from an embarrassing night at the Etihad on Thursday as Roberto Firmino, Jordan Henderson and Georginio Wijnaldum dropped out, but all three were needed in the second half after a disappointing first hour.

In front of an empty Anfield, Liverpool struggled to summon their best with the big prize already won and just re-writing the record books to play for.

Villa, by contrast, are still desperate for points in their battle to beat the drop and Dean Smith’s men were left to rue not taking their chances on the counter-attack early in the second half as their winless streak stretched to 10 games.

Pepe Reina was recalled in the Villa goal on his return to Anfield where he spent nine years as a Liverpool player.

However, the Spaniard barely had a save of note to make before half-time as Liverpool struggled to break Villa down.

Indeed, it was Alisson Becker who was the busier goalkeeper as the Brazilian was forced to parry shots from Douglas Luiz, Jack Grealish and Anwar El Ghazi.

Klopp was forced into introducing Henderson, Wijnaldum and Firmino to try and summon a response from his side in the final half hour.

The triple substitution quickly made a difference when Naby Keita picked out Mane to sweep home his 20th goal of the season.

Reina was finally forced into a fine save as he dived to his left to deny Firmino his first goal at Anfield this season.

Another substitute made the game safe a minute from time as 19-year-old Jones saw his effort deflect past the helpless Reina before Alisson produced another stunning save at the other end to deny Grealish a consolation.

Man City Whitewash Premier League Champions Liverpool 4-0

liverpool
Liverpool’s Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk (L) and Manchester City’s Belgian midfielder Kevin De Bruyne (R) chat on the pitch after the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on July 2, 2020. Manchester City won the game 4-0. PETER POWELL / POOL / AFP

 

Jurgen Klopp admitted Manchester City are the one side capable of “smashing” his newly-crowned Premier League winners after Liverpool’s first match since becoming English champions ended in a 4-0 thrashing at the Etihad.

City sent a warning shot of their intentions to take the title back next season as Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling and Phil Foden all struck before half-time to inflict just Liverpool’s third league defeat in 71 games.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s own goal rounded off a miserable night for Klopp’s men, who could have conceded many more in the second half.

The gap at the top of the table between the two remains 20 points, but Liverpool’s charge to better a series of records set by City two seasons ago was stalled on a chastening night for the champions.

“I wanted to see a brilliant attitude and I saw that, the boys were really fighting. Nobody was like ‘hey I am coming here, we don’t care’. We care a lot. That is how it feels, it feels not good and it should not feel like it is,” said Klopp.

“If there is a team in the world that can smash us like this it is probably City but we will come again.”

City began the evening by giving a guard of honour to their opponents, but showed little respect once the action got underway.

“I saw them in the guard of honour and they were so focused, they didn’t even say ‘thank you’. That is why they are champions of Europe and the Premier League,” said City boss Pep Guardiola.

“They drank a lot of beers in the past week but they arrive here without beers in the blood to compete against us.”

The early signs suggested Liverpool would be able to pick off a leaky City defence that has cost them their title.

Mohamed Salah struck the post and Sadio Mane headed wastefully wide as chances came and went for the visitors.

“We had our moments where we were really close to make something,” added Klopp. “They used our mistakes, we didn’t use their mistakes.”

Liverpool’s first big error came when Joe Gomez pulled Sterling to the ground inside the area and De Bruyne converted the resulting penalty.

Sterling was suspended by England manager Gareth Southgate after he squared up to Gomez in the canteen on international duty the day after Liverpool’s 3-1 win over City at Anfield earlier in the season.

– ‘Next season started today’ –

The City forward wisely did his talking on the pitch this time as he scored for the first time in a competitive match against his old side by turning inside Gomez and sending a shot through the defender’s legs as Liverpool were caught on the counter-attack.

“We had a test against the current champions to make a point and we did brilliant,” said Sterling. “Next season started today and we did well.”

Foden has been hugely impressive since the Premier League’s restart from a three-month layoff and the 20-year-old combined with De Bruyne for a brilliant one-two to leave Andy Robertson floundering before lifting the ball over the advancing Alisson Becker to make it 3-0.

But for the Brazilian goalkeeper and some wayward finishing, Liverpool could have been on the end of an embarrassing scoreline early in the second half as Gabriel Jesus fired straight at his international teammate, Sterling saw a shot deflected just wide and Virgil van Dijk cleared off the line from Foden.

There was a touch of fortune when City’s fourth did arrive as Sterling’s shot was heading wide before being turned into his own net by Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Riyad Mahrez had a fifth goal in stoppage time ruled out by a VAR review for handball as City just failed to match the 5-0 scoreline they inflicted on Liverpool at the Etihad in 2017.

But City more than laid down a marker and also showed why they are among the favourites to win the Champions League for the first time when European football returns in August.

‘A Season For The Ages’: Liverpool Owner Henry Salutes Title Triumph

File: Liverpool’s Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk (2L) celebrates scoring his team’s second goal with Liverpool’s English defender Trent Alexander-Arnold (L) during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Brighton and Hove Albion at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on January 1, 2019. Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

Liverpool’s principal owner John W Henry saluted his team’s “season for the ages” as they were crowned English champions for the first time in 30 years on Thursday.

Jurgen Klopp’s side won the Premier League without kicking a ball after second placed Manchester City were beaten 2-1 at Chelsea.

It was the culmination of a remarkable campaign for Liverpool, who have won 28 of their 31 league games, clinched the title earlier than any other Premier League champions and also lifted the Club World Cup in December.

US tycoon Henry, whose Fenway Sports Group bought Liverpool in 2010, tweeted: “This was a season for the ages and for the faithful of Liverpool Football Club.

“It has been an incredible year of magnificent achievement culminating tonight in capturing the Premier League title.

“The totality of this accomplishment has brought respite and joy to so many in a year filled with so much tragedy.

“LFC has made the beautiful game more beautiful than ever.

“It is said, ‘We are Liverpool’. You, the supporters are Liverpool in every sense and you continue to drive the club forward – a historic club making history once again.”

Coronavirus: The Final Twist In Liverpool’s Premier League Title Tale

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This is Liverpool’s first EPL crown in 30 years. Photo: Twitter/Liverpool FC

 

The delay to Liverpool’s title celebrations caused by the coronavirus was just the latest twist in the tale of the Reds’ 30-year wait to be crowned champions of England.

A stunning run of 26 wins and one draw from their opening 27 games of the Premier League season ensured Jurgen Klopp’s men were champions-elect long before football was shut down in March.

Despite some self-interested calls to “null and void” the season by those closer to the bottom of the table, UEFA’s insistence that any leagues not completed on the pitch should be decided on “sporting merit” meant Liverpool would not be denied their title.

The return of the Premier League even allowed them to seal it themselves rather than by votes via video conference.

Liverpool were crowned champions on Thursday after Manchester City fell 2-1 at Chelsea.

It is not the way fans would have chosen to seal the deal and there will be no celebrations to match those following Liverpool’s sixth European Cup win last year.

Klopp has promised a parade when it is safe to hold one but, in delivering the title, he has already banished the demons that haunted Liverpool for so many years.

AFP looks at Liverpool’s near misses.

Benitez’s ‘Facts’

Like Klopp, Rafa Benitez also delivered the Champions League to Anfield.

However, the Premier League eluded the Spaniard as the pressure of a thrilling title race in 2008/09 against old foes Manchester United and Alex Ferguson caused Benitez to crack.

Liverpool were top of the table in January when Benitez turned a routine pre-match press conference into an astonishing tirade against Ferguson.

Benitez reeled off a series of “facts” highlighting Ferguson’s behaviour towards referees and complaints about fixture scheduling after the Scot claimed Liverpool would get nervous in the run-in.

“I could not believe what I was hearing,” wrote then Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard in his autobiography. “I was grabbing the couch, digging my fingers into the arms, feeling embarrassed for him.”

Liverpool went on to draw the next three games, handing the advantage in the title race to United and could not recover despite winning 10 of their final 11 league games, including a 4-1 victory at Old Trafford.

– Gerrard’s slip –

Five years on, Liverpool were even closer to the title, with destiny in their own hands just three games from the end of the season.

An 11-game winning run had propelled Brendan Rodgers’s men to the top of the table ahead of Chelsea’s visit to Anfield.

Jose Mourinho even rested most of his key players, with the clash falling between the two legs of Chelsea’s Champions League semi-final against Atletico Madrid.

But one moment of ill-fortune famously cost Gerrard his last chance of winning a league title for his boyhood club as his slip allowed Demba Ba to open the scoring.

Mourinho then revelled in spoiling the party as Chelsea held out before breaking away in stoppage time to add a second when former Liverpool striker Fernando Torres teed up Willian.

Liverpool’s implosion was complete eight days later when they let a 3-0 lead at Crystal Palace go to draw 3-3 and allow Manchester City to claim the title by two points.

97 points not enough

The gap between City and Liverpool was even smaller last season as Klopp’s men missed out despite amassing the third-highest points tally in English football history.

Only City’s century of points in 2017/18 bettered the 98 they posted in retaining the title, with Liverpool’s 97 only good enough for second place.

Previous Liverpool sides of the past three decades have been broken by falling short.

This team showed they were made of sterner stuff by bouncing back to win the Champions League straight away and then streaking clear of City.

Tottenham Star Dele Alli Sanctioned Over COVID-19 Joke

File: Dele Alli of Tottenham reacts during the Audi cup 2019 final match between Tottenham Hotspur and Bayern Muenchen at Allianz Arena on July 31, 2019 in Munich, Germany. (Photo by Jose Breton/NurPhoto)

 

Tottenham midfielder Dele Alli has been given a one-match ban by the Football Association after joking about the coronavirus in a social media video and will miss his side’s first Premier League match after the restart.

In the weeks before the virus took hold across the world, Alli posted a Snapchat clip in which he made fun of an Asian man in an airport departure lounge in February.

The England international was shown wearing a face mask and the video had the title: “Corona whattt, please listen with volume”.

READ ALSO: Is This The End Of The Road For Roger Federer?

The video cut to an unsuspecting man of Asian appearance before panning to a bottle of antiseptic hand wash, underneath which appeared the caption: “This virus gunna have to be quicker than that to catch me”.

Alli later deleted the post and posted an apology to the Chinese social media network Weibo.

He was charged with misconduct by the FA on February 26 and his case has now been heard.

The one-game suspension means Alli will miss Tottenham’s game at home to Manchester United on June 19, their first of the resumed season.

Alli has also received a £50,000 ($63,000) fine and will have to attend an educational course.

“Dele Alli has been suspended for one match with immediate effect, fined £50,000 and must undertake a face-to-face education course,” an FA statement read.

After the FA issued the ban, Alli again expressed regret for his action.

“In response to the FA decision, I would like to apologise again for any offence caused by my behaviour,” he said.

“It was an extremely poorly judged joke about a virus that has now affected us more than we could ever have imagined.

“I’m grateful that The FA has confirmed that my actions were not racist because I despise racism of any kind. We all need to be mindful of the words and actions we use and how they can be perceived by others.”

Alli’s suspension continues a troubling period for the 24-year-old after knife-carrying burglars broke into his house recently.

Following an altercation with Alli, who was shaken but not seriously hurt, the men made off with jewellery.

AFP

English Premier League Games May Return On Free-To-Air

File: Manchester City’s Spanish manager Pep Guardiola holds up the Premier League trophy as he’s surrounded by his staff after their 4-1 victory in the English Premier League football match between Brighton and Hove Albion and Manchester City at the American Express Community Stadium in Brighton, southern England on May 12, 2019. Glyn KIRK / AFP

 

The Premier League is considering screening some behind-closed-doors matches on free-to-air television in Britain when the season restarts, the culture secretary has said.

Sky Sports and BT hold the UK television rights for live Premier League matches in what remains of the 2019/20 season, which is currently suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said there had been “productive conversations” with sporting bodies about how they would resume activity in the event of restrictions being relaxed.

Discussing how sport would be broadcast if held behind closed doors, he told the Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee: “I have said to the Premier League it wouldn’t send the best signal if they were one of the first major sports to resume behind closed doors and the public at large couldn’t have access to it.”

But Dowden, who spoke to the lawmakers on Wednesday, refused to speculate further on which platforms would broadcast the games.

“If they are being mindful of access points, that doesn’t just have to be going onto traditional terrestrial matches, or even showing all of the matches,” he said.

“There’s all sorts of creative options within that but it is something they should be considering, and they have said they are.”

Dowden said the government had talked with the police, health authorities and local government as part of planning for a potential resumption.

AFP

Man Utd Must Be Ready For Return To ‘Normality’ – Solskjaer

File: Manchester United’s Norwegian manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer throws the ball back in from the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Manchester United at Anfield stadium in Liverpool, north west England on January 19, 2020.
Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is looking at transfer targets during the lockdown and believes Manchester United are well-placed to exploit any knock-on effects of the coronavirus suspension.

With training and matches halted in a bid to curb the spread of COVID-19, the Norwegian has used some of this unexpected free time to pinpoint how best to improve the squad.

Jadon Sancho, Jude Bellingham and Jack Grealish are among the names liked with the club, with Solskjaer working with United’s staff to fine-tune targets.

READ ALSO: Real Madrid Players Accept Up To 20% Pay Cut

“Football is going to get back to normality at one point, and it’s very important we’re ready when that happens,” the United manager told Sky Sports.

“We want to be the best at everything, and of course now is a chance to spend more time, you discuss players, discuss plans.”

Asked whether United can exploit the transfer market when football returns, Solskjaer said: “Who knows how the market is going to react to this? Who knows which clubs need to sell players?

“There might be just a situation there where you can exploit, and I know that we at Man United, we are one of the biggest, and the biggest, financially well-off.

“I’m sure we are capable, when we get back to normality, that we can do the business that we want to.”

Solskjaer’s team last played on March 12 against Austrian side LASK in a Europa League last-16 first-leg game played behind closed doors, which they won 5-0.

Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba are likely to have recovered from their injury lay-offs by the time football resumes.

“In a way, they have got an opportunity here to play a bigger part in this season than they had hoped,” said Solskjaer.

“And they are big players for us, some of the most important players.”

United are currently fifth in the Premier League table, chasing a top-four berth that would guarantee entry into next season’s Champions League.

“We can kick on, I’m sure we can get a good start and climb up that table if we keep doing the right thing,” said Solskjaer.

“Even with the FA Cup and Europa League, if that does go ahead, we’ve got good chances there.”

COVID-19: Manchester City Coach Guardiola Donates €1m

COVID-19: Manchester City Coach Guardiola Donates €1m
File: Manchester City’s Spanish manager Pep Guardiola holds a press conference at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on February 25, 2020, on the eve of the UEFA Champions League football match against Real Madrid CF. JAVIER SORIANO / AFP.

 

Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola has donated one million euros ($1.08 million) to help buy medical supplies for the fight against the coronavirus pandemic in his native Spain.

The former FC Barcelona boss gave the money to the Medical College of Barcelona to buy “medical equipment that is currently lacking in health centres in Catalonia,” the body said in a statement.

His donation will also be used to produce ventilators to treat patients and protective gear for health care workers in Guardiola’s northeastern region of Spain.

Meanwhile Barcelona’s Hospital Clinic said it had received a donation from FC Barcelona captain Lionel Messi to help it fight the virus.

“Thank you Leo, for your support and commitment,” the hospital added in a tweet.

While the hospital did not say how much money the player donated, Catalan sports daily Mundo Deportivo said it was one million euros.

With the pandemic spreading across the world, Spain has been one of the worst-hit countries, logging the third highest number of deaths with the latest toll standing at 2,696, and the total number of infections nearing 40,000.

AFP

Ex-Manchester United Star Fellaini Contracts Coronavirus

File: Marouane Fellaini of Shandong Luneng celebrates after scored during the Chinese Super League (CSL) football match between Shandong Luneng and Beijing Renhe in Jinan in China’s eastern Shandong province on March 1, 2019.  STR / AFP

 

Marouane Fellaini has tested positive for the coronavirus, his club Shandong Luneng said Sunday, the former Manchester United player becoming the first known case in the Chinese Super League (CSL).

The 32-year-old Belgian international midfielder has a normal temperature and is feeling fine, Shandong said, but “is under observation and having treatment at a designated medical facility.”

“The club will do its best… to help in the treatment and recovery of the player.”

Fellaini is just the latest high-profile name in football to catch the disease, joining the likes of Juventus forward Paulo Dybala, Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi and Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta.

But he is the first confirmed case in the CSL, dealing a blow to the league’s hopes of starting the season as early as next month.

The campaign was supposed to begin last month but has been indefinitely postponed by the outbreak.

Fellaini, also formerly of Everton, joined Shandong Luneng from English giants United in February last year for a reported 7.2 million euros.

On Saturday, the Chinese Football Association said that the country’s best-known player, forward Wu Lei, had also tested positive for the coronavirus.

Wu, who plays for Spanish strugglers Espanyol, is in self-isolation at home in Barcelona and has only mild symptoms.

The coronavirus emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in December and has since spread across the world and become a pandemic, killing 13,000 people and infecting more than 300,000.

English Football Extends Shutdown Till April 30

File photo

 

The shutdown of English football was extended until at least April 30 on Thursday after the Premier League and English Football League (EFL) held crisis meetings.

“We’ve collectively agreed that the professional game in England will be further postponed until no earlier than Thursday 30 April,” said a joint statement by the English Football Association, Premier League, EFL, players and managers’ bodies.

UEFA’s decision to postpone Euro 2020 for 12 months earlier this week could allow games to be completed over the summer if strict restrictions on travelling and mass gatherings to halt the spread of COVID-19 are lifted in time.

The leagues still hope to finish the season once play can be restarted rather than accepting the current standings as final or declaring the campaign null and void.

“We’re united in our commitment to finding ways of resuming the 2019-20 football season and ensuring all domestic and European club league and cup matches are played as soon as it is safe and possible to do so,” added the statement.

Even if play can commence in early May, that could mean matches stretching beyond the June 30 goal UEFA agreed on for finishing the season on Tuesday.

The end of June is when many players’ contracts and loan deals expire.

However, the English authorities are putting no limit of when the 2019/20 season must be finished by.

“The FA’s Rules and Regulations state that ‘the season shall terminate not later than the 1 June’ and ‘each competition shall, within the limit laid down by The FA, determine the length of its own playing season’.

“However, The FA’s Board has agreed for this limit to be extended indefinitely for the 2019/20 season in relation to Professional Football.”

– Off-season break scrapped? –

One option could see the end of the 2019/20 and beginning of the 2020/21 come together with no time for an off-season break.

“Players may need to get their summer break in now before we finish what was the 19/20 season and roll it right into the 20/21 season without a break,” Brighton striker Glenn Murray told AFP.

“Everyone loves sport, everyone loves watching football but I really think the right decision was made in bringing it to a halt.

“At this moment in time it’s pretty irrelevant, people’s health is first and foremost. Once we get over this crisis we can look at sport and getting the Premier League and Football Leagues back in action.”

The sudden shutdown, though, could have long-lasting consequences for many lower league clubs worrying if they will even be able to survive the next couple of months with no income from gate receipts.

A £50 million ($58 million) short-term relief package was announced by the EFL to help stricken clubs on Wednesday.

However, there has so far been no bailout from the Premier League to ensure those further down the pyramid survive.

EPL: Liverpool Left To Wait And Wonder After Virus Strikes

Liverpool’s German manager Jurgen Klopp gestures from the sidelines during the English FA Cup fourth round football match between Shrewsbury Town and Liverpool at the Montgomery Waters Meadow Stadium in Shrewsbury, north-west of Birmingham in England on January 26, 2020. Anthony Devlin / AFP

 

Liverpool could have been crowned Premier League champions on Monday for the first time in a generation at the home of local rivals Everton. Instead, the stadium will be silent.

Jurgen Klopp’s team would have needed Manchester City to lose to Burnley on Saturday to have given them a chance to seal the deal at Goodison Park.

Regardless of whether it would have happened on Monday or over the coming weeks, Liverpool’s first top-flight title for 30 years was a mere formality.

But now fans are wondering when, or even if, they will be crowned champions after the coronavirus laid waste to the global sporting calendar.

The message coming from Liverpool is that there are more important issues than football to talk about, even with the club tantalisingly close to glory.

“I’ve said before that football always seems the most important of the least important things,” Klopp said in a statement on Friday.

“Today, football and football matches really aren’t important at all.

“If it’s a choice between football and the good of the wider society, it’s no contest. Really, it isn’t.”

Klopp’s stance won him the support of World Health Organisation chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who thanked him for his “powerful message”.

Liverpool supporters, desperate to reclaim their position at the pinnacle of the English game, agree with their German manager, saying the pandemic overshadows football.

Supporters’ union Spirit of Shankly is focusing on the damaging fallout from the COVID-19 virus.

“In talks with @lfc we asked for assurances that non-playing staff will not lose their pay as a consequence of shifts being cancelled,” it said in a statement.

“We also need to keep in mind those most vulnerable. Cancelling football games means (foodbanks) will be hit hard.”

– Deserving winners –

Liverpool have stumbled in recent weeks, knocked out of the Champions League by Atletico Madrid and dumped out of the FA Cup by Chelsea.

But they have been peerless in the Premier League, leaving their rivals in their wake to race 25 points clear of defending champions Manchester City.

With Alisson Becker in goal, Virgil van Dijk marshalling the defence and their devastating front three of Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, Klopp’s men have been irresistible.

Paul Hayward, writing in the Daily Telegraph, said Liverpool should be crowned champions for the 19th time even if no more games are played.

“If a season ends too soon, its natural winning line is the point it reached before the halt was called: emphatically so, 29 games into a 38-match campaign, which is a respectable distance,” he wrote.

“‘Voiding’ the 2019/20 football season would be nonsense,” he added. “Handing over the trophy at any point where clubs were forced to give up would feel morally correct.”

Brighton and Hove Albion chief executive Paul Barber said if the season were to be “frozen” it would be unjust on Liverpool.

“Everybody in the game appreciates what a fantastic season they’ve had and what a wonderful team they are,” he told the BBC.

“But equally it would be unjust for teams to be relegated when there are still eight, nine, ten games to play of the Premier League.”

But West Ham vice-chairman Karren Brady said if the fixtures could not be completed, the only fair solution would be to declare the season “null and void”.

Writing in the Sun, Brady, whose club are just two places above the relegation zone, said: “Who knows who would have gone down or come up if the games have not actually been played in full?

“A huge blow to Liverpool, who might be robbed of their first title in 30 years.”

Nobody knows when football will return but, when it finally does, many in the game hope Liverpool are given the chance to complete their long journey back to the top.

AFP

EPL Suspended Over Coronavirus Pandemic

EPL logo: FIle photo

 

The English Premier League (EPL) has been suspended until April 4th, 2020, following the outbreak of the coronavirus, according to a statement from the organisers on Friday.

According to the statement, the move followed a meeting of Premier League shareholders on Friday, revealing that the games will return if conditions are right.

“Following a meeting of Shareholders today, it was unanimously decided to suspend the Premier League with the intention of returning on 4 April, subject to medical advice and conditions at the time,” the statement added.

It also wished Arsenal coach, Mikel Arteta and Chelsea’s Callum Hudson-Odoi, who both tested positive to the coronvirus, speedy recoveries.

“Above all, we wish Mikel Arteta and Callum Hudson-Odoi speedy recoveries, and everyone else affected by COVID-19,” said Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters.

READ ALSO: UEFA Suspend Champions League, Europa League Matches Over Coronavirus

It assured of the Premier League’s commitment to the welfare of players, coaches, staff, supporters and other stakeholders.

“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 statement assured.

Also, the organisers said the displace fixtures will be played “when it is safe to do so.”