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Coronavirus: What happens now football matches have been called off?

Disease is wreaking havoc on the sport’s calendar

Alex Pattle
Friday 13 March 2020 14:43 GMT
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Premier League games are set to go ahead as planned
Premier League games are set to go ahead as planned (Getty)

Coronavirus continues to impact the footballing world and this week has seen the greatest disruption to the sport’s calendar so far.

Fixtures both domestically and on an international level have been affected in numerous countries, and players at various high profile clubs have either tested positive for the disease or self-isolated after showing symptoms.

In England, the Premier League and English Football League (EFL) held emergency meetings on Friday morning to determine how to progress with the country’s league campaigns.

Meanwhile, Uefa provided an update on the Champions League fixtures scheduled for next week.

Here’s everything you need to know.

How is the Premier League proceeding?

The Premier League season has been suspended until 4 April at the earliest as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Premier League called an emergency meeting with its clubs on Friday morning regarding the season’s remaining fixtures, before an official announcement was made at 11am.

“Following a meeting of Shareholders today, it was unanimously decided to suspend the Premier League with the intention of returning on 4 April, subject to medical advice and conditions at the time,” the Premier League said in a statement.

“Despite the challenges, it is the Premier League’s aim to reschedule the displaced fixtures, including those played by Academy sides, when it is safe to do so.”

How is the rest of football in Britain proceeding?

All EFL fixtures and matches in the FA Women’s Super League and Women’s Championship have also been postponed.

Elsewhere, football in Scotland has been suspended indefinitely. This ranges from the Scottish Premiership all the way down to grassroots football. The Old Firm Derby between Rangers and Celtic was due to take place on Sunday.​

Steven Gerrard’s Rangers were due to face rivals Celtic this weekend (PA)

How have other leagues in Europe reacted?

La Liga in Spain has been suspended for two weeks. The Spanish FA has also reccommended that all clubs cease training.

France’s Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 have been suspended until further notice.

Italy is in total lockdown, so no Serie A games are taking place for the foreseeable future.

The Bundesliga has been suspended until 2 April at the earliest.

How have the Champions League and Europa League been affected?

Uefa announced that all Champions League games next week will not go ahead, and the same applies to the Europa League.

Manchester City vs Real Madrid, Juventus vs Lyon, Bayern Munich vs Chelsea and Barcelona vs Napoli are the Champions League games that were originally scheduled.

Earlier this week, some matches in both competitions were played behind closed doors, with Europa League games featuring Roma, Sevilla and Inter Milan were cancelled.

What is happening with Euro 2020?

Uefa is set to meet on Tuesday to discuss a possible postponement of Euro 2020.

In other international football news, England’s friendlies against Italy on 27 March and Denmark on 31 March have been cancelled.

Conmebol’s World Cup 2022 qualifying matches have also been cancelled. Argentina and Brazil were set to play.

Fifa have suspended South America World Cup qualifiers (AFP)

Who are the most high profile players to test positive for coronavirus?

Juventus defender Daniele Rugani tested positive earlier in the week, before Sampdoria’s Manolo Gabbiadini became the second Serie A player found to have contracted the disease. Both players later said they were “fine”.

In the Premier League, Chelsea’s Callum Hudson-Odoi tested positive, but said on Friday he had already “recovered”.

Meanwhile, Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta tested positive for the disease, causing Arsenal’s game against Brighton this weekend to be postponed before the Premier League’s suspension.

A first-team Everton player showed symptoms of coronavirus and is self-isolation, while the rest of the squad have been told to stay away from club sites.

The same applies to Bournemouth’s Artur Boruc and several staff members. West Ham are self-isolating due to contact with Arsenal players and Arteta last weekend.

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