Michael 84

The Coronavirus Stops Football Worldwide Including The Premier League

Friday, 13th March, 2020

Coronavirus Cancels Football

It’s the worldwide crisis which has dominated the news in the past several weeks, and sadly it’s probably just the beginning. Obviously I am talking about the Coronavirus aka COVID19.

This is serious, people are dying and it’s a terrible contagious infection sweeping the globe.

People and health are number 1, that goes without saying. I could write about toilet roll shortages and the stockpiling of pasta, but we’re probably sick of talking about that.

So with that said I’ll keep it light (or as light as you can be in this situation) talk about what many of us love and how it’s effected that, football and sport.

The Coronavirus has stopped football worldwide, including the Premier League, which announced this morning that it would be suspended until 4th April.

Here’s what’s happened so far.

As far as it goes in England, everything was fine, according to the decision makers. The league games were going to continue as normal as recently as last night, then things changed.

First of all, the Arsenal – Man City match was postponed on Wednesday after it was confirmed that the owner of Olympiakos tested positive for the Coronavirus – He had come into contact with some Arsenal players or staff.

From then, Leicester confirmed that 3 players were in isolation after showing symptoms for the virus.

The Premier League said games would go ahead as normal, that was until last night it was confirmed that Mikel Arteta, the Arsenal manager, tested positive for the coronavirus. The whole of the Arsenal team was now in isolation, along with the training ground.

That was clear that Arsenal wouldn’t be able to play their games for at least 2 weeks.

It was then confirmed that Chelsea player Callum Hudson Odoi tested positive and was in self isolation, as will be some of the staff and players.

Everton also confirmed that they were in self isolation, with Bournemouth confirming the same. The Watford manager confirmed that they were testing for the virus too.

The Premier League had a meeting this morning (Friday 13th March) and confirmed what we all knew – The Premier League would be postponed. They have stated that this will be until 4th April, although since this is a situation which changes rapidly, even that is unclear.

Europe has faced similar situations. Some games which were supposed to be played this week were called off, a few were played, and some played behind closed doors.

Liverpool vs Atletico Madrid was played as normal, with a full stadium. This was very strange, considering Spain has one of the highest confirmed cases of the virus, with over 1000 cases in Madrid. There were reportedly 3,000 Atletico fans who made the trip to see their team beat the holders of the Champions League.

Getafe from Spain, who were due to play AC Milan on Thursday in the Europa League was postponed. There’s a huge number of cases in Milan, which is in the North of Italy and has seen the highest number of cases in Europe.

The president of Getafe said that he would not send the team or staff to Milan, even if they faced a forfeit. The game was postponed.

Real Madrid are also under isolation after a Real Madrid basketball player tested positive – The basketball team shares facilities with the football team, so the players have to go into isolation. Real Madrid were due to play Manchester City next week, which was then postponed for this reason.

Earlier today UEFA finally made it official: They have suspended the Europa League and Champions League, and all UEFA competitions. UEFA and the 55 member associations will be discussing what happens next on Tuesday.

This means that virtually all leagues around Europe are suspended. La Liga & 2nd league in Spain, Ligue 1 & 2 in France, Serie A & B, Eredivise (Holland) to name a few are suspended, with every professional league in England suspended. Germany and the Bundesliga are set to play their final round of games behind closed doors, and then also suspend the league.

What Happens Next?

What happens next? I don’t think anyone has any idea.

Euro 2020 is supposed to begin in the summer (there’s still 4 teams to qualify too!) and it’s really sad for me to say that I don’t think it’s going to happen. There’s no secret that I love the Euros and World Cup, I look forward to them every 2 years.

But it seems for the moment at least that the club seasons across Europe will have to be extended, which will surely run into June, when the Euros is supposed to start.

But it could be worse than that, because we don’t know for sure when the season will restart, or if it will actually re-start.

There are 3 obvious possibilities:

  • Finish the season as early as possible, whenever that may be (June? July? August? September?)
  • Stop the season now as it is, i.e. end the season early
  • Void the season

These 3 possibilities all have their own downsides.

Resuming and finishing the season as early as possible has one major problem: When will that be?

As it stands, we have no idea when and even if we will be able to complete the season. At the moment, the restart will be 4th April. That could mean the season runs until the very start of June, depending how many games are played per week. Playing 2 games per week, could possibly get the season done a little earlier, but you have to factor in the FA Cup and European competitions.

This scenario relies on the season restarting as it’s billed to, and has no further interruptions.

Ending the season early will mean that it’s not a full and complete season. As it stands, some teams have played less games than others, making it unfair. It is also unfair to the teams fighting relegation or challenging for Europe.

These implications then also filter down the leagues too.

You can void the season. In this scenario it’s as if the season didn’t happen. There is no winner, the teams at the bottom stay in the league, and we play it again from the start in August.

This has similar problems as finishing the season early. What happens to Leeds and West Brom who are currently in the automatic promotion spots heading for the Premier League next season?

It doesn’t seem fair on those teams.

It also would not be fair on the teams who are playing to get into the Champions League and Europa League to just void the season.

A 4th Option? Expansion To a 22 team Premier League & No Champions

One of the options in Italy (and now Germany too) they are discussing is the following. This season the championship is not awarded. No teams are relegated, and the teams in the promotion spots are promoted, making the league bigger next season by 2 teams.

In that following season, 5 teams are relegated, making the league back to it’s regular size next season.

In regards to European places, they are awarded to the teams which are in the current positions to qualify for European Competitions.

This would make it a 22 team Premier League.

I think this 4th option is an interesting idea, but I doubt it will happen. It would make the league bigger, and even if it’s only 1 season I imagine teams would complain at playing even more games than they already do.

The league size isn’t out of the ordinary, the Premier League originally had 22 teams, as I remember when I was younger. It was then reduced to 20, with 4 being relegated and only 2 promoted for a season to get it down to 20 teams. There’s also the other leagues in the pyramid who have more than 20 teams.

Other options?

I am sure there’s so many other options, but so far these are ones being talked about.

I think that one thing is for certain, it doesn’t matter which road the leagues and decision makers go down, it will leave some people unhappy.

Euro 2020 – To Be Euro 2021?

It seems the most popular option for the European Championships is to hold Euro 2020 a year later, in 2021. This has it’s own set of problems, with the women’s Euro competition taking place in 2021, and the new Nations League finals also scheduled in 2021.

Moving the Euros to 2021 does seem to be the most reasonable option. It would be a huge tragedy to cancel this great competition in it’s entirety, I would be gutted. I would prefer it to be postponed until 2021 if it’s not going ahead this summer.

We’ll have to see how it all pans out in the coming weeks and months.


Michael Adams

About Michael

Michael Adams is the founder and editor of Michael 84, blogger from Newcastle, UK. Sharing men's fashion tips, style advice and lifestyle information for all guys.

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