“Further decisions on when these matches take place will be communicated in due course,” UEFA said in a statement.
A number of European professional leagues also announced a halt in play Friday because of the coronavirus.
The English Football League announced Friday that the country’s top-flight soccer leagues, including the Premier League, will halt play until at least April 3, when the situation will be reviewed. On Thursday, the Premier League announced that this weekend’s games would go on as scheduled, but that was before Arsenal Manager Mikel Arteta had tested positive for the coronavirus and its entire first team had placed itself in self-isolation. After that news broke, the Premier League announced that its teams would meet Friday to decide its immediate future.
Richard Masters, the Premier League’s chief executive, said in a statement Friday that the league’s goal is to reschedule the postponed matches “when it is safe to do so.”
Players from five other clubs — Bournemouth, Chelsea, Everton, Leicester and Watford — also had placed themselves in self-isolation after showing symptoms of the coronavirus.
In a video message posted to Twitter on Friday, Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi revealed he had recovered from the coronavirus but remained in self-isolation:
United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Thursday that his government was considering a ban on sporting events but was wary of doing so.
“The scientific advice is this has little effect on the spread — but it does place a burden on other public services,” he said. “We are guided by the science; there is no medical reason at the moment to ban such events.”
Johnson also was adamant in saying he would not be closing schools. His comments were publicly questioned by Cesc Fàbregas, a midfielder for French club Monaco.
Lucas Digne, a left back for English club Everton, mocked Johnson’s comments on Twitter.
In France, where this weekend’s Ligue 1 and 2 matches originally were to be played without spectators, the Ligue de Football Professionnel announced Friday that all matches in the country’s top two divisions will be suspended until further notice.
Germany’s Bundesliga and its second-division 2. Bundesliga will go on hiatus until April 2 and will not play any matches this weekend as originally planned. The leagues previously had announced that, for matches taking place Friday through Monday, “clubs will reduce the amount of personnel involved in the game to a minimum,” the German Football League said in a statement. One match, a second-division meeting between Hannover 96 and SG Dynamo Dresden originally scheduled for Sunday, already had been postponed after two Hannover 96 players tested positive for the coronavirus.
Club soccer in Spain, Italy, Portugal and the Netherlands already had been shut down because of the coronavirus, and with club competitions across Europe halted and season completions delayed, UEFA must decide what to do with this summer’s Euro 2020 tournament. The Associated Press reported Thursday that UEFA is “nearing a decision” to postpone the tournament until 2021 to give the domestic leagues “potential space in the calendar for UEFA club competitions and domestic leagues to complete seasons that are now being affected by the coronavirus.”
Mexico’s top league is one of the few not to shut down amid the coronavirus outbreak. Liga MX matches on Friday, Saturday and Sunday were still set to be played — with fans allowed to watch in most cases — as of Friday afternoon, though pregame handshakes between players, officials and child mascots will not be allowed.
Mexican national team friendlies on March 26 against the Czech Republic in Charlotte and on March 29 against Greece in Arlington, Texas, have been canceled, however.