London Marathon, Premier League and English Football League suspended amid UK coronavirus outbreak

  • Video report by ITV News Sports Reporter Amy Lewis

The London Marathon has been postponed til October 4 over fears the large crowds could aggravate the coronavirus outbreak in the UK.

It comes after all Premier League and English Football League fixtures were been suspended until April 4 amid the coronavirus pandemic.London Marathon director Hugh Brasher said the "unprecedented situation" forced the change.

""We know how disappointing this news will be for so many - the runners who have trained for many months, the thousands of charities for which they are raising funds and the millions who watch the race every year," he said.

The London Marathon has been postponed due to coronavirus fears. Credit: PA

The measures come as the UK saw the largest day-on-day increase in Covid-19 cases since the outbreak began and Scotland recorded its first fatality related to the virus.

A total of 798 people in the UK have now tested positive for the virus - an increase of 208 people from the same time on Thursday.

Officials and shareholders from Premier League, FA, EFL and WSL came to a unanimous decision to halt fixtures at a meeting on Friday. The group said it "collectively agreed to postpone the professional game in England".

Similar measures have also been taken by the Football Associations of Scotland, Wales, and Ireland.

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Advertisements in a shop on Oxford Street encourage people to wear a mask. Credit: PA

The move comes as both the Arsenal and Chelsea first-team squads went into self-isolation following Gunners manager Mikel Arteta and Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi testing positive for the virus.

West Ham announced several members of its club personnel are self-isolating after being in close contact with Arteta at Saturday's match and Everton put its entire playing squad in quarantine after a player reported symptoms consistent with Covid-19.

On Friday Hudson-Odoi posted a video message on Twitter saying he was following the latest guidance and hoped to be back on the pitch soon.

Following the announcement, Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters said in a statement: "Above all, we wish Mikel Arteta and Callum Hudson-Odoi speedy recoveries, and everyone else affected by COVID-19.

"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 Premier League says it aims to reschedule impacted fixtures "when it is safe to do so".

England's two friendlies later this month at Wembley, the Women's Super League and FA Women's Championship have also been postponed.

  • ITV News Sports Reporter Amy Lewis has the latest from outside the Premier League Headquarters:

Elsewhere the Scottish Football Association and Scottish Professional Football League say fixtures are off until "further notice" while the Football Association of Ireland announced all football activity under its jurisdiction has been suspended until 29 March.

The Football Association of Wales has suspended domestic football at all levels across the country until 4 April. In a statement the group said it would "resume the football schedule" based on medical advice from the relevant authorities.

Wales' two international friendlies for the end of this month have both been cancelled.

Wales and Real Madrid star Gareth Bale is in quarantine after a member of the Real basketball team tested positive for the virus. Credit: PA

The move to postpone footballing fixtures across the UK and Ireland follows similar measures taken by sporting bodies around the globe.

In Rugby Union, four fixtures in the the Six Nations tournament have been cancelled following the virus outbreak in Europe.

Though officials had initially said Wales' final round match against Scotland in Cardiff would go ahead, on Friday the Welsh Rugby Union announced it was postponing the fixture.

In cricket, the England team's test series in Sri Lanka has been postponed over fears about the outbreak.

Golfing events have also been impacted, with this year's Masters at Augusta postponed.

Meanwhile in the US the NBA is suspending its season, with basketball officials clarifying on Thursday the league will be halted for at least 30 days.

The first F1 Grand Prix of the season was cancelled two hours before the first official practice was due to start. Credit: AP

Elsewhere Formula One bosses have called off the first four events of the racing season.

The move came after British racing team McLaren pulled out of the Australian Grand Prix following a confirmed coronavirus case among their staff.

Meanwhile the Olympic flame-lighting ceremony was a pared-down event this year over concerns around the spread of the virus.

Despite the pandemic, the International Olympic Committee says it remains fully committed to staging the Tokyo 2020 Games as scheduled.

Southampton and Newcastle United players avoid shaking hands prior to kick-off during the Premier League match at St Mary's Stadium. Credit: PA

The decision by footballing bosses in the UK comes as Boris Johnson said the country was now moving into the next stage of its planning to combat the pandemic - the delay phase.

In an address on Thursday, the prime minister said current measures did not yet include cancelling sports events - despite Scotland banning mass gatherings.

Mr Johnson said: "We are considering banning major public events like sporting fixtures," but added:

"The scientific advice is this has little effect on the spread - but it does place a burden on other public services."