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Arsenal squad to stay at home as self-isolation ends while club commits to paying staff during coronavirus suspension

PUBLISHED: 12:29 23 March 2020 | UPDATED: 12:29 23 March 2020

File photo dated 13-03-2020 of Closed gates at Arsenal's London Colney training ground. Picture: Bradley Collyer/PA

File photo dated 13-03-2020 of Closed gates at Arsenal's London Colney training ground. Picture: Bradley Collyer/PA

PA Wire/PA Images

Arsenal’s first-team squad will not return to training this week amid growing coronavirus fears, despite their 14-day isolation period coming to an end after boss Mikel Arteta’s positive test.

Arsenal's Mesut Ozil (right) and Bukayo Saka put on bibs during the training session at London Colney. Picture: John Walton/PAArsenal's Mesut Ozil (right) and Bukayo Saka put on bibs during the training session at London Colney. Picture: John Walton/PA

The team could have returned to training on Tuesday after spending a fortnight at home following Arteta’s positive Covid-19 test on Thursday, March 12, having last had contact with their manager on Tuesday that week.

The Spaniard has thankfully recovered after contracting the virus and would have been fit to take sessions at London Colney if they had gone ahead.

The club confirmed that the academy and women’s team will also stay at home as they believe continuing training in the current climate – with coronavirus cases continuing to grow in the UK – would have been an ‘inappropriate & irresponsible’ decision.

“Our men’s first-team players were scheduled to return to training on Tuesday after completing 14 days isolation following Mikel Arteta’s positive diagnosis for the virus,” read an official club statement.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta during the training session at London Colney. Picture: John Walton/PAArsenal manager Mikel Arteta during the training session at London Colney. Picture: John Walton/PA

“As a result of the current situation we are clear it would be inappropriate and irresponsible to ask players to come back at this time.

“Therefore our men’s first-team, women and academy players are all remaining at home.”

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Players will continue to work from home for the foreseeable future, with the club doing all they can to keep up fitness levels as the future of the Premier League season remains uncertain.

Arsenal's (left-right) David Luiz, Eddie Nketiah, Shkodran Mustafi, Alexandre Lacazette and Gabriel Martinelli during the training session at London Colney. Picture: John Walton/PAArsenal's (left-right) David Luiz, Eddie Nketiah, Shkodran Mustafi, Alexandre Lacazette and Gabriel Martinelli during the training session at London Colney. Picture: John Walton/PA

Each member of Arteta’s squad has been issued with a personalised fitness plan and those who don’t have gyms in their homes have been sent excercise equipment by the club.

Dietary plans have also been issued while Arteta and technical director Edu have been in regular contact with the players to keep them informed of the situation.

Arsenal have also committed to supporting matchday and non-matchday casual workers by paying staff on their payroll up to April 30.

“This gesture reflects our gratitude to them and our desire to ease their financial concerns during this challenging period,” read an official club statement. 

“This will be reviewed once the relevant authorities have made a further decision on when football can resume. All football is currently suspended until at least April 30.”

Arsenal managing director, Vinai Venkatesham, said: “We are truly grateful for the outstanding efforts of all our staff across the club every day. We rely on their tireless service to provide a first-class experience for our fans, on matchdays and non-matchdays. 

“These are challenging times for everyone, but in particular our casual workers. This gesture is intended to ease their financial uncertainty while football is currently suspended to April 30.   

“We look forward to welcoming football back to Emirates Stadium as soon as possible.”

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