Arsenal cancel tour of USA after positive Covid-19 tests among entourage

Arsenal's Hector Bellerin (centre) celebrates scoring their side's third goal of the game with team-

Arsenal were due to play Inter Milan and Premier League rivals Everton in the Florida cup. - Credit: PA

Arsenal have cancelled their pre-season tour of the USA after members of their touring party tested positive for Covid-19. 

The Gunners have pulled out of their Florida Cup games with Inter Milan, Everton and Colombia’s Millonarios, which were set to be a warm up for the Premier League campaign. 

It is unclear which members 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.

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“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.

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“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.

Additional reporting by PA. 

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