Coronavirus and Football

Article: Football Under Threat as Coronavirus Crisis Deepens

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By Jonathan Lewis | 9th MAR 2020

The growing concerns over the spread of coronavirus are causing major headaches for football authorities across the world.

More than 3,000 people have died after contracting coronavirus and experts believe that the number will rise significantly over the next few weeks.

The crisis could result in many top-class sport calendar events in 2020 being cancelled as governing bodies try to stop the virus spreading. Read on as we take a look at the latest state-of-play.

UEFA Set for Emergency Talks

UEFA are set to hold emergency talks about whether the Champions League and European Championships should continue in light of the current situation.

European football’s governing body will discuss the matter with its 55 member associations at its annual congress in Amsterdam.

UEFA has said it has no plans to postpone either competition, although that situation could change drastically over the coming weeks.

The Champions League match between Paris Saint-Germain and Borussia Dortmund is already under threat, with French authorities banning meetings of more than 5,000 people in a confined space.

The 2020 Euros will also come under scrutiny, with the tournament set to be staged in 12 different cities across the continent this summer.

European Leagues Face Fixtures Chaos

Five fixtures were postponed in Serie A over the weekend, increasing the risk that there may not be enough time to complete the Italian football schedule this season.

Juventus have also put their Under-23 squad into quarantine after it was confirmed that three players from their most recent opponents, Pianese, had tested positive for coronavirus.

Inter Milan and AC Milan have both instructed their office staff to work from home, effectively shutting down the San Siro Stadium.

Over in Switzerland, the Super League has been suspended until at least March 23 after clubs refused to agree to play matches behind closed doors.

The clubs were concerned about the loss of gate revenue if they were made to play in empty stadiums, forcing the Swiss football association to call a temporary halt to the season.

International Champions Cup Loses Asian Swing

International Champions Cup fixtures scheduled to be staged in Asia this summer have been cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Europe’s top club sides usually play ICC games across the world in the run-up to the season, but tournament organisers have decided not to risk heading to Asia this year.

A spokesman for the ICC’s promoter, Relevant Sports, said: “The health and safety of fans, clubs, players, staff and partners are our top priority.

“Asia remains a key component of our global growth strategy and we look forward to hosting matches in the market in the near future.”

The decision is undoubtedly a blow for football fans in the region, further highlighting the wide-ranging impact the coronavirus is having at the moment.

Jonathan Lewis is a MFF sports writer.