LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 16: The Premier League trophy on display prior to the Premier League match between Chelsea and Liverpool at Stamford Bridge on September 16, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

When it was confirmed that Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has tested positive for Coronavirus, it came as shocking yet unsurprising news for football fans and the world of sports. The disease, known for COVID-19, now declared a pandemic by WHO, has been spreading for weeks in Europe, with Italy being the main perpetrator and the worst-hit European nation.

But while the Italian FA has been swift (or not) to suspend Serie A matches following the massive outbreak of Coronavirus in the nation, it took Arteta to contract the disease for FA to act. Indeed, the English footballing body called in for an emergency meeting in the morning yesterday and later in the day; it was confirmed that the Premier League season had been suspended until April 3rd.

Coronavirus: How has it affected England?

To judge the timing of FA’s decision, it is crucial to learn the impact Coronavirus has had in England. At the time of writing, England is not among the worst-hit European nations. It has recorded around 798 confirmed cases, with a total of ten deaths.

This is significantly fewer than its neighbouring European countries, including France and Italy, where football has already been suspended. Spain has also entered a state of emergency and has banned football while Germany, despite facing criticism from many experts and players, has appeared insistent on continuing the Bundesliga.

In England, however, the impact of Coronavirus has been noticeable. Someone like Arteta contracting the disease gives out a clear indication that Arsenal squad members could easily test positive for COVID-19. In fact, a total of 100 members of Arsenal squad and staff are set to enter self-isolation to limit the contraction.

PIRAEUS, GREECE – FEBRUARY 20: Mikel Arteta, Manager of Arsenal looks on during the UEFA Europa League round of 32 first leg match between Olympiacos FC and Arsenal FC at Karaiskakis Stadium on February 20, 2020, in Piraeus, Greece. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Were FA late to react to Coronavirus?

It has been widely criticised that a host of first-world countries, including Italy, have appeared sloppy in dealing with the threat of Coronavirus. Italy has already faced the brunt of the disease, which should have come as a warning sign for England and its footballing body.

Fortunately, unlike the German footballing federation, the FA has decided to suspend all footballing events for the next three weeks or so, which is clearly more effective than banning supporters from entering the stadium.

But in hindsight, the FA should have appeared much more attentive in dealing with the threat of Coronavirus. It can also be argued that they might have taken even longer to come up with a decision if Arteta had not tested positive for COVID-19.

Nonetheless, these are turbulent times for government officials, the health ministry, as well as the common people as the world looks to deal with the threat of Coronavirus. A host of sporting events across the globe have already been suspended or postponed, with the Premier League being the latest one to join the list. We can only hope for things to get better within the coming weeks.

Jack O’Brien

A 22 y/o football nerd seeking my way into football writing. I love Irish football and also the Premier League. A huge Arsenal fan! Aside from writing, I like to spend my time fishing and drinking beer.