A member of Arsenal’s coaching staff has tested positive for Covid – forcing the closure of the club’s Hale End academy.
A member of staff tested positive for Covid-19 at 5pm on Wednesday, with club acting immediately to shut the centre at Wadham Road, Walthamstow.
There is no suggestion of wrongdoing. However, a well-connected source alerted the Gooner to the positive test earlier on Wednesday evening, with a serious allegation relating to a breach of club and government guidelines that the club would not respond to.
In an email sent to staff and all those affected at Hale End academy just after 8pm, seen by the Gooner, the club said that due to unforseen circumstances the Hale End facility is 'shut until further notice and no staff are on site.'
The Gooner is aware of the name of the Arsenal employee who has tested positive.
The allegations relate to a senior academy staff member recently travelling abroad before returning to Hale End, prior to embarking on various on-site meetings for at least two days, reportedly without knowing the results of a Covid test.
The source told the Gooner: "Coaches and Arsenal youngsters were at risk because of his actions."
After contacting the club with the story an Arsenal spokesman told the Gooner: "We can confirm a member of staff from our Hale End academy has tested positive for Covid.
"We can confirm that a member of staff from our Hale End Academy has tested positive for Covid-19. The positive test result arrived at 5pm today and the member of staff immediately left the site to self-isolate.
"As a consequence, six other members of staff are now self-isolating and we have initiated track and trace for the entire site.
"We are working through our CCTV and attendance records on site in order to continue the track and trace process.
"Our Hale End Academy will now be closed on Thursday for deep cleaning.
"After Thursday, we will review our coaching plans at Hale End accordingly and will keep all staff, parents and young players fully informed.
"The health and safety of everyone on all our sites is our paramount concern. No members of our men's or women's first team squads have been affected."