Olympiakos and Nottingham Forest owner Evangelos Marinakis on Tuesday tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19). The Greek businessman created panic in English football as Premier League and Championship clubs may have been exposed to the deadly virus.
Marinakis was at the Emirate stadium when Olympiakos knocked Arsenal out of the Europa League on February 27 and the club revealed a number of players met him after the game. Also, the shipping magnate was spotted at the City Ground for Forest’s Championship fixture against Millwall on Friday.
In a statement on Instagram, Marinakis revealed he had contracted the Covid-19 virus and started showing the first symptoms on his return to Greece.
He wrote: “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 discipline to the doctors’ instructions.
“I wish all a quick recovery.”
In a statement on Tuesday, Forest said players and staff members have been ordered to undergo coronavirus tests after Marinakis met them after Friday’s home defeat to Millwall.
The club stated: “We confirm Evangelos Marinakis has tested positive for the coronavirus.
“He was diagnosed after showing the first symptoms on his return to Greece yesterday.
“During his short stay in Nottingham last week he did not show any symptoms of the virus.
“The club is seeking advice from medical professionals and the relevant governing bodies to ensure the correct measures are taken.”
Also, Millwall, who defeated Nottingham 3-0 on Friday, said that “senior club representatives who came into contact with Marinakis have started self-isolation”.
Millwall said: “Senior club representatives who came into contact with Mr. Marinakis last Friday have all begun a period of self-isolation, as per government advice.
“This is purely a precautionary measure and no individual has displayed any symptoms. The club will continue to follow all necessary guidance.”
Olympiakos president Giannis Moralis also said that Marinakis contracted coronavirus in the UK. Moralis, who is also the mayor of Piraeus, claims the Forest owner contracted coronavirus during a visit in England and is currently “mildly ill”.
The Olympiakos bigwig told Greek TV channel ANT1: “I think he is mildly ill and that is a good thing .
“It is obvious that he contracted the virus during his stay in England. Fortunately, in my opinion, he did the right things.
“[He] immediately went for a check-up, he was tested positive and publicly announced his condition, which is positive.
Meanwhile, UEFA rejected Wolves’ request to postpone the match against Olympiakos in Greece – which the club said was an “unnecessary risk”.
“There are some things that are more important than football,” Wolves said.
“The good health of our pack and the general public is one of them.
“Our position is that the trip poses unnecessary risks to our players, staff, supporters and the families of all who travel, at such critical and uncertain times.”
“Our concern is also for our opponents, whose players and staff have today been tested, and will now be expected to play their part in an important fixture, under the difficult and challenging circumstances of their owner suffering from the virus,” added Wolves.
Football matches in England could be ordered to be played behind closed doors imminently, reports have stated.
A meeting of the government’s Cobra committee is expected to officially announce that the UK had moved from the ‘contain’ phase of their coronavirus action plan to the ‘delay’ phase, which could include social distancing measures.
As a result, football fans will be unable to attend matches for an unspecified amount of time, and matches will also not be shown in pubs to avoid a congregation of people.
Season-ticket holders and other ticket holders will be able to follow the matches via live streams in their home but the 3pm broadcasting blackout will not be lifted, although further coverage during the standard slots will be permitted.
The plan may be implemented once the amount of confirmed cases in the UK rises above 500 which, following the rise in cases over the past week, is expected to be surpassed in the latest figures on Thursday.
Pre-match handshakes are not taking place, while some clubs are urging their players to avoid contact with supporters.