Coronavirus: Five Brighton and Hove Albion staff members in self-isolation

Staff from Brighton and Hove Albion have self-isolated due to the coronavirus - but no members of the first team playing squad or staff have been affected.

Brighton and Hove Albion
Brighton and Hove Albion

None of the five have the virus but it is believed they have either been to affected countries or had indirect contact with someone who has the coronavirus and have isolated as a precautionary measure.

Brighton chief executive and deputy chairman Paul Barber said, "There is a contingency plan in place. We have been fortunate that there have been no cases amongst our players or first-team staff, we do have five members of staff self-isolating, which is a precautionary measure for a range of different reasons – either due to travel reasons or contact with potential cases – but none are showing symptoms of the virus at this stage.”

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Albion are also telling full-time staff to work from home where possible from Monday, and to minimise risk in whatever ways possible. While those coming into work are following strict protocols and measures in place for the past two weeks in order to minimise risk and protect players as much as possible.

Barber added, “We have sent home staff who don’t need to be here in the office, both at the stadium and training ground. If people do report sick, show symptoms of the virus, come into contact with the virus or think they have the virus, then we have plans in place to self-isolate."

Brighton's match against Arsenal was postponed on Friday night after it was confirmed Gunner's manager Mikel Arteta contracted the virus.

The Premier League announced a suspension to the 2019/20 campaign until April 3 at the earliest. The Premier League optimistically says it intends to return on April 4, "subject to medical advice and conditions at the time".

Brighton's match at Leicester in that suspension period had already been postponed due to Leicester's involvement in the FA Cup. The FA Cup quarter-finals scheduled for March 21 and 22 have also been postponed.

Albion are due to play again against Manchester United on April 4 but that is unlikely.

The club have however committed to pay staff who are unable to work due to the coronavirus, including more than six hundred regular casual staff who work on matchdays.

Barber agreed the measure with the club’s board of directors during an emergency conference call this afternoon, set up following the Premier League meeting earlier today.

Barber explained, “We have had to cancel their work at really short notice, and we know that their work and pay is really important.

“We have taken the decision as a club to continue paying the vast majority of our matchday staff for the remainder of the season, whether or not we play the five remaining Premier League games.

“We feel that is really important, whether we play the games in a full stadium, behind closed doors or at all, we want those staff to know they’ve got their pay coming to them.

“That is a small thing we can do. The vast majority of people we employ are local people, so it is important we support them at a difficult time."