Arsenal will not play at the Florida Cup as the Gunners have confirmed they have a ‘small number of positive COVID tests’ among their squad and coaching staff.
[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]
The Gunners were due to depart to Florida for a preseason tour and games against Inter Milan and one of Everton or Millonarios in Orlando, but they will now stay at home ahead of their Premier League season kicking off against Brentford on Aug. 13 (Watch live, 3pm ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).
Mikel Arteta will no doubt be very frustrated by preseason plans being changed at the last minute, but flying overseas for a preseason trip was always going to be risky given the current situation and with COVID-19 cases on the rise in the UK.
Here is the statement in full from the north London club.
What is the situation at Arsenal?
“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.
“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.
“We are glad to say the members of staff are not currently displaying any COVID symptoms. They are now in self-isolation at home. We are now making alternative arrangements in line with the Premier League protocols to continue our preparations for the new season. We hope everyone understands this difficult situation which is beyond anyone’s control.”
What now for Arsenal?
With the main focus being the safety of their players and staff, they will obviously look to continue preseason training in the safest way possible.
They have preseason friendlies against Chelsea (Aug. 1) and Tottenham (Aug. 8) coming up, so they may try to arrange a behind closer doors game between now and then, if possible, to keep things ticking over.
Arteta will have a lot more time to work with this young team on the training ground this season as Arsenal failed to qualify for European competitions, and he will get more time to do this in the coming weeks after the disappointment of having their trip to the USA cancelled at such short notice.