You cannot open any sports news app or site without seeing the latest news on the Coronavirus and how it is impacting sport. Across the world sporting events have been called off, games played behind closed doors and extra precautions being taken in order to prevent the risk of spreading the disease further. This has now started to impact UK football with the first game called off on the 11th of March.
Here we will have a timeline of affected football matches in the UK.
- 7/5/20 – Bundesliga announces return on the 15th of May, becoming the first of Europes top 5 leagues to return.
- 6/5/20 – German government confirm the Bundesliga can return mid-May
- 4/4/20 – Manchester City confirms they will not be furloughing any staff and all staff will remain on full pay from the club – the first Premier League team to confirm this.
- 3/4/20 – Liverpool joins Newcastle and Spurs in furloughing staff using a government initiative to pay their wages. This is met with widespread criticism from the media and ex-players including Jamie Carragher.
- 19/3/20 – Premier League confirms the postponement will be extended until the 30th of April at the earliest.
- 14/3/20 – Premier League confirms the league will be postponed until 3rd of April
- 13/3/20 – Arsenal confirm manager Arteta has tested positive for Coronavirus
- 13/3/20 – Premier League confirms weekends games will still go-ahead
- 12/3/20 – Brendan Rodgers confirms some Leicester City players are exhibiting symptoms of the Coronavirus
- 12/3/20 – Englands international friendly v Denmark at the end of March expected to be called off.
- 12/3/20 – Real Madrid placed in 15-day quarantine after a basketball player tests positive. Manchester City v Real Madrid expected to be called off soon.
- 11/3/20 – UEFA rejects Wolves request to call off their game v Olympiacos on 13/3/20 after the Olympiacos owner confirms he has Coronavirus.
- 10/3/20 – The Premier League calls off Manchester City v Arsenal after it finds Arsenal players were exposed to the virus in the Europa League game against Olympiacos on 27th February. The team will return to training on Friday 14th March.
- 9/3/20 – UEFA confirms LASK v Manchester United in the Europa League will be played behind closed doors.
Over time a number of players have caught the virus and various solutions to finishing the league have been discussed. None have been confirmed yet as they await confirmation from the government that football can go-ahead before making any firm plans.
Ideas that have been mooted –
World Cup-style tournament
This involves guaranteeing all players, families and staff in private hotels like in the World Cup. The games would take place in controlled environments, St Georges Park has been suggested as a place to hold this as they have 13 pitches and again they can control the environment. This would lead to 3 games per day, like the world cup, but has many variables and issues.
Travelling abroad to play
This is a similar idea to the World Cup idea above just with the league being moved to a country who have recovered after the virus.