The English Football League has decided to suspend all matches until early next month due to the coronavirus epidemic, it was reported.
There have been 596 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the UK, with ten deaths reported, but health officials fear there may be up to 10,000 people infected.
With sporting events from around the world being postponed at a rapid pace, the Premier League and EFL have strongly urged to follow suit before matches this weekend.
And at a meeting of the EFL board of directors on Friday morning, it was decided to suspend all football until April 3 – the Friday after the international break already scheduled.
The Premier League and Women’s Super League were also suspended until April 3 after news that Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta and Chelsea striker Callum Hudson-Odoi had contracted the virus.
An EFL statement said: “After considering the increasing number of cases affecting players and club staff, the board of directors was unanimous in its approach and it was decided that all planned football activities this weekends and until April 3, 2020 would be postponed.
“For the avoidance of doubt, this includes all matches in the championship, league one and league two, as well as all the matches of the Academy and youth teams and will take us beyond the next international round.
“The organization of training programs for professional players during the interim period remains the responsibility of each club and we recommend that all training at the Academy be suspended until April 3, 2020.
“In addition to this, the League orders all clubs to indefinitely suspend all non-essential matters which include, but are not limited to, player appearances, business activities, ground visits and fan meetings. “
The government announced Thursday that it has entered the “delay” phase of the fight against the virus, but has placed no restrictions on mass gatherings.
However, it now appears that infection among the competitors themselves will result in the cessation of sports activities.
In Scotland, rallies will be limited to 500 people from Monday.
The first two divisions of French football have been suspended for an indefinite period, announced Friday morning the Professional Football League.
UEFA, the governing body of European football, announced on Friday that all matches in the Champions League and Europa League next week had been postponed, while England’s cricket tour to Sri Lanka was interrupted.
Gillingham plays postponed match against Fleetwood on FIFA – and destroys Joey Barton’s men
The Leeds Rhinos announced on Friday that they would not travel to Spain for Saturday’s game against the Catalan Dragons for medical reasons, with a team member who self-isolates after showing symptoms of a possible coronavirus.
Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix was canceled after a member of the McLaren team tested positive for Covid-19 and discussions are ongoing as to whether the start of the season should be delayed until June . There are also reports that the Bahrain Grand Prix, which was previously scheduled to take place behind closed doors, will also be canceled.
UEFA will also examine the possibility of postponing Euro 2020 until the summer of 2021, when it will hold an emergency meeting of its member associations on videoconference on Tuesday.
He will also have to make tough decisions regarding the Champions League and the Europa League, which have been directly affected by players involved in contracting the virus, but have also suffered from travel restrictions imposed across Europe as a result of the epidemic.