OLDHAM Athletic will not return to action in League Two until April 4 at the earliest.

The Football Association, the Premier League, the English Football League, FA Women's Super League and FA Women's Championship have all agreed to call a halt to competitive action with immediate effect.

Government advice on mass gatherings in England and Wales has not changed despite the decision on Thursday to move into the 'delay' phase in tackling the virus, but the spread of the illness among competitors has forced the hand of organisers.

It is understood discussions will take place as necessary between the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and HM Treasury on any support that might be required for the sport sector as a consequence of the pandemic.

Organisers of domestic football competitions will keep their plans under constant review as the spread of the virus develops.

Friday's suspension of competition followed positive tests for Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta and Chelsea forward Callum Hudson-Odoi, with other clubs reporting members of their playing and coaching staff were self-isolating as a precaution after experiencing symptoms consistent with Covid-19.

The outcome of next Tuesday's meeting of European governing body UEFA may provide the English and Scottish leagues with some wriggle room. If a decision is taken to postpone Euro 2020 until the summer of 2021, it creates the possibility of domestic competitions being completed in June and even July if necessary. The Premier League clubs are due to hold another meeting next Thursday.

The Premier League statement talked about its aim being to reschedule the displaced fixtures, but for both it and the EFL there may in the next month be issues to be faced in the event of no further action being possible for the foreseeable future to do with promotion and relegation, and European qualification.

The idea that the league table as it stands right now being the 'final' one opens up the prospect of legal challenges from affected clubs, but the focus from the competition organisers on Friday was ensuring the health and well-being of all involved in the first instance.

In the EFL in particular, the inability to play further matches would have a major financial implication too, with matchday earnings a vital source of revenue.

During his 2020 Budget, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a package of £12billion to offer financial support for public services and businesses impacted by Covid-19.

The players' union, the Professional Footballers' Association, welcomed the move, saying: "We have been in regular dialogue with both the leagues and have communicated direct concerns from PFA delegates and senior players on behalf of their respective squads. The leagues shared these concerns.

"Collectively the stakeholders have made a decision based on the safety and welfare of players, club staff and fans."

The Football Supporters' Association chief executive Kevin Miles said: "Matchdays are a central part of a supporter's life but this is an unprecedented public health emergency and public safety has to come first.

"The decision to suspend fixtures until April reflects the seriousness of the situation. Fans should heed the advice of health experts."