March 13, 2020 / 10:22 AM / 3 months ago

All UEFA soccer matches for next week postponed due to coronavirus

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Europa League - Round of 16 draw - Nyon, Switzerland - February 28, 2020 General view of the UEFA logo at UEFA Headquarters before the draw REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Photo

(Reuters) - UEFA has postponed all Champions League and Europa League matches due to take place next week because of the coronavirus outbreak, European soccer’s governing body said in a statement on Friday.

“In the light of developments due to the spread of COVID-19 in Europe and related decisions made by different governments, all UEFA club competitions matches scheduled next week are postponed,” UEFA said.

The governing body added that the Champions League and Europa League quarter-final draws scheduled for March 20 had also been postponed as a result.

The decision comes ahead of a crisis meeting on Tuesday where UEFA will consider all options for the next period, including possibly postponing the Euro 2020 tournament scheduled for June and July.

English Premier League side Chelsea, who were scheduled to travel to Bayern Munich for a last-16 Champions League game on Wednesday, have announced that winger Callum Hudson-Odoi tested positive and that their whole squad is in quarantine.

Tuesday’s Champions League matches between Juventus and Olympique Lyonnais and Manchester City and Real Madrid have already been postponed as Juventus’s and Real Madrid’s players are in quarantine.

That day, UEFA will hold a video conference of all 55 football federations along with club, league and player representatives to discuss the situation, including various options to finish the season and deal with the issue of Euro 2020, which could be postponed.

Europe’s top soccer leagues have already been placed on hold because of the outbreak, which has killed over 4,900 people globally.

The English Premier League, which has not yet been suspended, has called an emergency meeting later on Friday in the wake of Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta testing positive, to discuss its response to the pandemic.

Reporting by Simon Jennings and Simon Evans; Editing by Kevin Liffey and Toby Davis

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