It remains business as usual at the Cheltenham Festival, despite a Premier League football match being postponed on Wednesday because of the coronavirus outbreak.
The Premier League announced in the early hours that Manchester City’s home fixture against Arsenal would be postponed due to the fact Olympiacos owner Evangelos Marinakis – who has since tested positive for the virus – visited the Gunners for the clubs’ Europa League tie on February 27.
Marinakis, also the majority owner of Nottingham Forest, met several Arsenal players and staff, the Premier League said in a statement.
Arsenal said those players were now self-isolating for 14 days and were thus unavailable for Wednesday night’s match, triggering the Premier League’s decision to postpone.
With increased hygiene measures in place, the Festival began on Tuesday with more than 60,000 racegoers in attendance, although the crowd was down almost 7,000 on last year.
“We had a fantastic first day here yesterday with seven brilliant races, which reminds us what the sport is really about,” said Ian Renton, regional director Cheltenham and the South West, Jockey Club Racecourses.
“All the measures we put in place were well used by racegoers, and we were topping up our hand sanitiser gel stations all day long. The racegoers heeded the advice we gave to ensure that hygiene was kept at a maximum.
“The attendance being down was not a surprise. The last fortnight ticket sales have been very quiet. We had tremendous sales until then, and I was delighted to see 60,000 people here yesterday in an atmosphere of such good racing, so it was a good start.
“We have been liaising with the Government throughout this; their advice has been extremely helpful. We’ve been following that advice to the letter and we will continue to do so until the conclusion of the Festival.”