The Premier League, Football League and Women’s Super League - three of Europe’s premier soccer leagues - will suspend all games until at least the beginning of April, English soccer’s governing bodies said in a joint statement.
The postponements include all matches in the Championship, League One and League Two, as well as all academy and youth-team fixtures, the English Football League (EFL) said in a joint statement issued by all the leagues.
In addition, clubs have been advised to suspend indefinitely all non-essential activities, including player appearances, training-ground visits and fan meetings.
“This decision has not been taken lightly, but the EFL must prioritize the health and well-being of players, staff and supporters while also acknowledging the Government’s national efforts in tackling this outbreak,” the EFL said.
Reports said Mikel Arteta, head coach of Arsenal, and Chelsea player Callum Hudson-Odoi have been diagnosed with Covid-19 coronavirus.
The move follows other major sports leagues including the NBA, NHL and Major League Soccer, which have either suspended or cancelled games as the coronavirus continues to wreak havoc on everyday life around the world.
The NCAA initially said its annual March Madness basketball tournament would be played without fans, though later also cancelled the entire tournament.
Major League Baseball delayed the start of the season for at least two weeks and canceled spring training games beginning Thursday to combat the spread of the coronavirus, according to a statement from the league.
The baseball season had been scheduled to begin on March 26.
Meanwhile, soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo is in self-quarantine after a Juventus teammate tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
Ronaldo was in his hometown of Maderia, Portugal, but will now have to stay there following the team's announcement on Thursday that Daniele Rugani was diagnosed with the virus.