Arsenal cancel US trip following ‘small number’ of positive coronavirus tests

The Gunners were due to open the tournament with a match against Inter Milan.

A general view of the outside of Arsenal's Emirates Stadium
A general view of the outside of Arsenal's Emirates Stadium

Arsenal have withdrawn from the Florida Cup and cancelled their pre-season trip to the US after a “small number” of their touring party tested positive for Covid-19.

The Premier League side were scheduled to play Inter Milan in the opening round of the tournament, which also includes Everton and Colombia’s Millonarios.

It is unclear which members of the travelling party are now self-isolating although the club’s London Colney training base was deep cleaned on Monday evening, with the squad due to train later on Tuesday in a controlled environment.

In a statement announcing their withdrawal, Arsenal did not specify how many members of their touring group tested positive for the virus, nor if any players were among those with a coronavirus diagnosis.

“Following a small number of positive Covid tests among the planned party to travel to America tomorrow, we have sadly been forced to withdraw from the Florida Cup,” the statement read.

“This difficult decision is based on ensuring the health and wellbeing of our players and staff.

“We fully understand what a disappointment this is for our supporters in America, who were looking forward to seeing us compete in the Florida Cup as part of our pre-season build-up.

“Our apologies also go to the organisers of the Florida Cup who had done a fantastic job making the preparations and our partners who had arranged events around our participation in the competition.”

The club said they were “glad to say” none of the staff who had tested positive were currently displaying Covid-19 symptoms, but all were in self-isolation at their homes.

“We are now making alternative arrangements in line with the Premier League protocols to continue our preparations for the new season,” the Gunners said in their statement.

“We hope everyone understands this difficult situation, which is beyond anyone’s control.”

The shortened Florida Cup is set to begin on Sunday at Camping World Stadium, Orlando, but organisers have not announced if Arsenal will be replaced by another side.

Meanwhile, Arsenal’s own pre-season plans will now be adapted with the PA news agency understanding two behind closed door friendlies will be hastily arranged while the Mind Series – a mini tournament against rivals Tottenham and Chelsea – should not be affected by the outbreak.

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