SUSPENDED: Ipswich Town games postponed until April as English football shuts down over coronavirus fears
- Credit: PA
Ipswich Town’s season has been suspended after English football shut down in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
No games will be played until April 4 at the earliest, at which point the situation will be reassessed again.
The move was discussed in Premier League and EFL meetings this morning, with the latter said to have voted unanimously to suspend matches until the start of April. That includes Under 23, Under 18 and other academy games, with training also suspended for young players.
That means the Blues' planned visit to Bristol Rovers tomorrow is off. Town have eight games remaining, with five of those scheduled to be at Portman Road.
Only the visit to Rovers and the Portman Road clash with Portsmouth are scheduled before the April 4 date, when Southend are scheduled to come to Suffolk, but it remains to be seen if and when the season is able to restart.
An EFL statement reads: 'In light of overnight developments, the EFL Board has met this morning to discuss the ever-changing circumstances posed by the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak.
'Having considered the increased number of cases affecting Club Players and staff, the Board were unanimous in their approach and it has been determined that all football activity scheduled to take place this weekend and until 3 April 2020 will be postponed.
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'For the avoidance of any doubt this includes all matches in the Championship, League One and League Two, as well as all Academy and youth team fixtures and will take us beyond the next international round.
'The arrangement of training programmes for professional players in the interim period remains a matter for each individual Club and we advise all Academy training is suspended until 3 April 2020.'
'In addition to this the League instructs all Clubs to suspend indefinitely all non-essential business which include, but are not limited to, player appearances, commercial activities training ground visits and fan meetings.'
English football had been the last major nation to react to the spread of the virus, with matches in France, Germany, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands and all Champions League/Europa League games all previously called off.
Furthermore, the virus has impacted Six Nations rugby, Formula One, tennis, golf, NBA basketball, athletics and could potentially lead to this summer's Olympics being postponed.
But action has now been taken in England, with all Premier League and EFL games suspended.
Speaking earlier this morning, Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert called for an immediate halt to action to help combat the disease.
'If the Premier League has a meeting and calls it off then I think everyone else has to follow,' he said. 'You can't play because you're risking people's lives - the game is nowhere near important enough to be risking people's lives.
'There is so much uncertainty with it. Scotland are postponing games, France, Germany too and Italy. Everyone's shutting down so why are we any different?
'We play Portsmouth in a couple of weeks and they came into contact with Mikel (Arteta, who has tested positive) and Arsenal the other week. Where's it going?'