Carlisle United's game at Grimsby is in fresh doubt with reports that the EFL will suspend matches amid the coronavirus crisis.

The League's board - which includes United co-owner John Nixon - are meeting this morning to discuss this weekend's fixtures and future games.

It is expected that matches will be suspended, with the Premier League likely to take a similar decision.

Both organisations last night said there was not yet a need to cancel matches or force them behind closed doors.

But football could now be shelved before the weekend with the Premier League now calling an emergency meeting of clubs this morning after it was confirmed Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta had tested positive for the coronavirus.

That announcement from the Gunners came just an hour after the Premier League joined the EFL in issuing a statement to say games would be played as normal this weekend.

The top-flight's plan is in the balance now with Arsenal's squad and staff having gone into self-isolation.

Chelsea have done likewise following the news that winger Callum Hudson-Odoi had contracted the virus with Everton's squad the latest to go into self-isolation after a first-team player was reported to be showing symptoms of the illness.

Many clubs are now calling for a suspension of the season as the spread of Covid-19 continues.

And it is expected the EFL will also deviate from last night's statement, where they said they had agreed "a consistent approach" over this weekend's fixtures which would take place as normal and be open to fans.

The Football League last night said contingency plans were being drawn up in the event of further measures being required amid the coronavirus crisis.

Their stance in their statement followed clarification from Prime Minister Boris Johnson earlier on Thursday that there was not yet a demand to halt mass gatherings and sporting events - contrary to the approach set to be taken in Scotland next week.

Football's various authorities, including UEFA, revealed a plan to discuss the situation further next Tuesday.

The EFL statement last night said: "In light of today’s announcement by the UK Government, EFL matches will continue to take place as normal while the guidance from the relevant authorities remains that there is no medical rationale to close or cancel sporting events at this time.

"The EFL, however, will continue to work with Government and relevant stakeholders to further develop contingency plans to ensure the League is best placed to act as and when any potential restrictions may come into force.

"Immediately following the announcement by the Prime Minister, EFL chair Rick Parry held discussions with the FA and Premier League and agreed on a consistent approach ahead of this weekend’s round of fixtures. Matters will be further discussed at a meeting called by European Football’s Governing body, UEFA, on Tuesday 17 March.

"The League will continue to liaise with the Government regarding ongoing developments and will continue to work with clubs to ensure players, staff and supporters are updated and appraised accordingly.

"These matters are, of course, subject to change and we will update as appropriate."

The comment from the League came hours after it emerged that plans were being drawn up that could have seen the staging of football matches in England behind closed doors.

UEFA announced it will hold a meeting of all 55 football federations in Europe next Tuesday to discuss the effect of the virus on all domestic and European competitions, including the Euro 2020 tournament.

The meeting will be conducted by video conference and will also involve the boards of the European Club Association, the European leagues and a representative of FIFPro, the players' union.

United have said they will continue to be guided by the EFL on how to respond to the virus outbreak, with the Blues "in regular contact" with the league as the authorities pass on government advice.

The Cumbrians have continued to plan for games and events as normal.

According to The Times, football's plan for the crisis could see season-ticket holders and ticket holders for individual games at EFL clubs to watch matches on iFollow streams, should games eventually be taken behind closed doors.

The Blues, who are embarking on a major ticket promotion for next weekend's home game against Leyton Orient, have not yet commented on the potential financial implications of a move to close grounds. Some officials at other clubs have said it would seriously harm lower-league clubs who are more reliant on ticket sales than wealthy top-flight clubs.

It was yesterday revealed that three Leicester City players had gone into self-isolation after showing symptoms.

Scotland are set to announce a temporary ban on "mass gatherings" of more than 500 people.

Carlisle have nine games remaining in their League Two season. The club said this week: "We are in constant contact with the EFL, who are getting advice on a regular basis.

"We will continue to follow that advice."

The Blues urged supporters to use hand-sanitising gel and wash hands regularly at the ground at Tuesday's 2-0 win against Newport, which was attended by 2,822 fans, including 49 from Newport.

They said they have ensured gels are available in other areas of Brunton Park, including the reception.

Arsenal’s visit to Manchester City on Wednesday night was the first game in the English leagues to be postponed by the Premier League as a “precautionary measure”.

It came after a small number of Arsenal players, along with four of the club’s staff, were in close proximity to Nottingham Forest owner Evangelos Marinakis, who is also owner of Greek club Olympiakos who faced the Gunners two weeks ago, and who this week confirmed he had contracted Covid-19.

Tranmere chairman Mark Palios this week told the BBC that, should measures be taken to put games behind closed doors, "you are probably looking at a total loss of £400,000 to £500,000, which would be unbudgeted and unwelcome.

"A lot of clubs operate hand to mouth, and it may be that owners have to inject funds into the clubs.

"I'm not a great fan of handouts because you have to stand on your own two feet. Having said that, these are exceptional circumstances so if you are looking at real solidarity in the football world, help from the EFL, the FA and the Premier League is one of the avenues that needs to be explored.

"Equally, [if the] government is looking to support economy and business, and football clubs are part of that. There are a variety of ways they could all help in that regard."

English football's initial approach in the early stages of the outbreak was to halt the traditional pre-match handshakes between teams.

Many, though, have felt this a futile measure considering how often players are in close contact during games, while some have been seen shaking hands at the end of games.