The world is passing through a critical time as the deadly coronavirus, aka COVID-19, continues its reign of terror across boundaries. The ramifications of this outbreak has been widespread, and even our beloved game of football couldn’t keep itself safely out of reach.
All European leagues have been temporarily called off after the coronavirus outbreak worsened across the continent
Europe has become the new epicenter for the spread of the virus, which originated in Wuhan, China a few months ago. With the surge of coronavirus cases throughout the continent, governments are prioritizing its containment by imposing lockdowns.
This has prompted European federations to halt domestic leagues. UEFA also suspended their club competitions and rescheduled EURO 2020 to EURO 2021. Copa America, another major international tournament, which was due to be held this summer was also called off.
In England, the FA had dismissed all professional football events till April 3, 2020. But, as of now, it has been extended to April 30, 2020. In general, there is an obligation to complete the regular season by June 1, but because of unavoidable circumstances, there will be no cut-off time to finish the 2019/20 season.
UEFA have confirmed the EUROs will kick off on June 11, 2021, with the final set to take place on July 11, 2021, instead of the summer 2020 schedule. The last four entrants of the tournament are yet to be decided and according to the current fixture, the play-offs for these spots will be played this June. However, the governing body of European football provided no update on when the Champions League and Europa League matches will be played.
The title race for this year’s La Liga, Serie A, and Bundesliga were shaping out to be one of the most exciting ones in recent history but all these leagues had to be postponed amid COVID-19 fears. La Liga are scheduled to resume from April 5, while Serie A is poised to return on April 3. But, given the current conditions of both countries, it seems highly unlikely we can expect such a swift return. Bundesliga is also set to return on April 3, and the clubs are considering playing behind closed doors to minimize risk.
This hiatus is taking a heavy financial toll on the clubs. Spanish radio station Cope reveals La Liga clubs will lose €600m in ticketing and TV rights revenue if the season ends now. Huge television rights income does offer a safety net for Premier League clubs in England, but they will also incur substantial loss if the season is declared null and void. The situations are even direr in other parts of the world.
Unfortunately, a number of football personalities have also contracted this disease, which puts the future of this season in even more doubt. Multiple Valencia players were diagnosed with COVID-19, Arsenal head-coach Mikel Arteta, Chelsea youngster Callum Hudson-Odoi, Juventus stars Daniele Rugani and Paulo Dybala also tested positive.
In the grand scheme of things, football is not the most important thing to worry about. Hopefully, the world will heal soon, normalcy will be restored, and football will come back in our lives again. Till then, we need to cope with life without the beautiful game.