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Leeds United great Norman Hunter in hospital after positive coronavirus test

The former England defender has contracted Covid-19 and is receiving treatment, the Championship club have confirmed.

Former Leeds United defender Norman Hunter is in hospital after being diagnosed with Covid-19, the Championship club have confirmed.

The 76-year-old was admitted after testing positive for coronavirus, according to a club statement released on Friday.

“We can confirm that Leeds United and England legend Norman Hunter is being treated in hospital after testing positive for Covid-19,” the statement read.

“We would like to take this opportunity to remind the public and the media to respect the wishes of Norman and his family and to give them the space they need during this difficult time. Keep battling Norman, we are all with you.”

Hunter spent 14 years with Leeds, winning two league titles, an EFL Cup and reaching the European Cup final in 1975, where they lost 2-0 to Bayern Munich. He then played for Bristol City and Barnsley, where he finished his career in 1982.

Known for his combative style of play, Hunter won 28 caps for England and was part of the World Cup-winning squad of 1966. He had spells as Barnsley manager from 1980-84 and Rotherham United from 1985-87.

Football has been brought to a standstill by the coronavirus pandemic, with all major leagues across Europe postponed due to public health concerns.

Several leading figures in the English game have been diagnosed with the illness, including Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta, although the Spaniard has since made a full recovery.

It remains to be seen when football can resume, with the 2019-20 season postponed indefinitely amid the current crisis.

Hunter’s former team Leeds looked set fair for a return to the Premier League for the first time since 2004, sat in the Championship automatic promotion places when the campaign was halted last month.

There are no plans to restart the season, and several non-league and women’s divisions have had their seasons annulled.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino said it would be “more than irresponsible” to restart competitions too early amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“As our main priority, our principles, the ones we employ in our competitions and also we invite to everyone to follow, is health comes first,” he said on Thursday, via the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF).

“As much as I emphasise it, it is not enough. It’s not worth to put at risk any human life for any game, any competition, nor any league. Everyone should have this clear in their minds.

“It would be more than irresponsible to restart the competitions if the situation is not safe 100 per cent. If you must wait a bit more time, we must do it. It is better to wait a bit more than taking risks.”

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