When Olympiakos’ owner Evangelos Marinakis sneezes, the effects are felt in faraway lands.
The announcement earlier this week that he has contracted the coronavirus, has resulted in the postponement of a high-profile EPL fixture between Manchester City and Arsenal.
Marinakis made an announcement on Instagram: “The recent virus has ‘visited’ me and I felt obliged to let the public know. I feel good as I take all the necessary measures and I discipline to the doctors instructions. I strongly advise all my fellow citizens to do the same. I wish all a quick recovery.”
The announcement came less than a fortnight after Marinakis visited Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium, where he sat in the directors’ box during the match, and after full time, walked onto the pitch to join his triumphant Olympiakos players and also make contact with some of the Arsenal players.
This has led directly to the English club announcing that some of its players have now gone into self-isolation for two weeks, as a precautionary measure.
Arsenal released the following statement: “We identified that a number of players met the Olympiakos’ owner immediately following the game. The medical advice we have received puts the risk of them developing Covid-19 are extremely low. However, we are strictly following the government guidelines which recommend that anyone coming into close contact with someone with the virus should self-isolate at home for 14 days from the last time they had contact.
“As a result, the players are unavailable for tonight’s match against Manchester City and the Premier League has decided the game should be postponed. The players will remain at their homes until the 14-day period expires. Four Arsenal staff, who were sitting close to Mr Marinakis during the match, will also remain at home until the 14 days are complete.
“As a further precautionary measure, whilst we do not believe there was any close contact with any other Arsenal guests or staff in the directors box restaurant, we are contacting them to advise they should follow the relevant advice if there has been any such contact. Everyone at Arsenal wishes Mr Marinakis a swift recovery and we look forward to the [rest of the] players and staff returning to work on Friday in preparation for our match at Brighton.”
Arsenal isn’t the only English club to be affected by the Marinakis announcement. Last Friday, he visited the English club he owns, Nottingham Forest, to watch them play in their match against Milwall. He reportedly shook hands with many of the players in the dressing room and with a number of Forest fans outside the ground.
The club has subsequently released the following statement: “Nottingham Forest can confirm that owner Evangelos Marinakis has tested positive for the coronavirus. Mr Marinakis was diagnosed after showing the first symptoms on his return to Greece yesterday afternoon. During his short stay in Nottingham last week he did not show any symptoms of the virus. The club are seeking advice from medical professionals and the relevant governing bodies to ensure the correct measures are taken. Until this time the club will be making no further comment.”
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Finally, Wolves’ request to have Thursday night’s Europa league tie away to Olympiakos postponed was rejected by UEFA, after Olympiakos announced all its players, coaching staff and officials had tested negative to the virus.
The match was ordered to be played in an empty stadium.