Coronavirus brings football down to its knees

The sports world is amongst the so many things badly hurt by the contagious coronavirus disease.

And one sport in particular that this disease has brought down to its knees is football.

From just a fortnight ago when football, particularly in Europe, was abuzz with the usual hype and frenetic action of the Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Ligue 1, Champions League, Europa League, etc., the continent’s most famous sport suffered its deadliest blow yet.

Several matches across various tournaments were either postponed or played behind closed doors until authorities eventually felt it is no longer wise to continue holding games, at least maybe for this period of uncertainty.

As of press time, the sad trend, but perhaps the best thing to do to help curb further spread of coronavirus is to temporarily halt all fixtures.

QUICK RESPONSE

UEFA, Europe’s governing body in football, was quick to respond and did not dilly-dally suspending this coming week’s Champions League and Europa League matches as fears over the pandemic grow each day.

In a statement, UEFA said: “In the light of developments due to the spread of COVID-19 in Europe and related decisions made by different governments, all UEFA club competition matches scheduled next week are postponed.’’

CALLED OFF MATCHES

Champions League round-of-16 tie second leg games called off were the Manchester City-Real Madrid and Juventus-Olympique Lyonnais fixtures this Wednesday (March 18), and Bayern Munich-Chelsea, and Barcelona-Napoli this Thursday (March 19).

After the first leg, City lead Real Madrid 2-1, Lyon are up 1-0 over Juventus, Bayern are 3-0 ahead of Chelsea, and Barcelona and Napoli are tied 1-1.

In the Europa League, all second round matches in the round-of-16 scheduled for March 20 were suspended.

They are Copenhagen vs Istanbul Basaksehir (Copenhagen lead 1-0 after the first leg), Roma vs Sevilla (tie postponed since first leg), Basel vs Eintracht Frankfurt (Basel lead 3-0), Manchester United vs LASK (United lead 5-0), Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Olympiakos Piraeus (tie level at 1-1), Bayer Leverkusen vs Rangers (Bayer Leverkusen lead 3-1), Shakhtar Donetsk vs Wolfsburg (Shakhtar Donetsk lead 2-1) and Getafe vs Internazionale (tie postponed since first leg).

Also called off by UEFA were all UEFA Youth League quarterfinals matches set for March 17 and 18, and the quarterfinals draws for the Champions League and Europa League set for March 20.

As to when the aforementioned tournaments will continue, the UEFA said decisions will be announced in due course.

VIDEO CONFERENCE SET

UEFA also scheduled a videoconference meeting on March 17 to discuss how European football would respond to the pandemic. Invited to the videoconference are representatives of UEFA’s 55-member associations along with board members of the European Club Association and European Leagues and a representative from FIFPro, the worldwide representative organisation of 65,000 professional football players.

Meanwhile, the entire club of Real Madrid was quarantined after one of ts basketball players tested positive for coronavirus.

While tournaments across Europe have been cancelling games for at least two weeks, the Premier League also announced the postponement of the league until the start of April.
The sports world is amongst the so many things badly hurt by the contagious coronavirus disease.

And one sport in particular that this disease has brought down to its knees is football.

From just a fortnight ago when football, particularly in Europe, was abuzz with the usual hype and frenetic action of the Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Ligue 1, Champions League, Europa League, etc., the continent’s most famous sport suffered its deadliest blow yet.

Several matches across various tournaments were either postponed or played behind closed doors until authorities eventually felt it is no longer wise to continue holding games, at least maybe for this period of uncertainty.

As of press time, the sad trend, but perhaps the best thing to do to help curb further spread of coronavirus is to temporarily halt all fixtures.

QUICK RESPONSE

UEFA, Europe’s governing body in football, was quick to respond and did not dilly-dally suspending this coming week’s Champions League and Europa League matches as fears over the pandemic grow each day.

In a statement, UEFA said: “In the light of developments due to the spread of COVID-19 in Europe and related decisions made by different governments, all UEFA club competition matches scheduled next week are postponed.’’

CALLED OFF MATCHES

Champions League round-of-16 tie second leg games called off were the Manchester City-Real Madrid and Juventus-Olympique Lyonnais fixtures this Wednesday (March 18), and Bayern Munich-Chelsea, and Barcelona-Napoli this Thursday (March 19).

After the first leg, City lead Real Madrid 2-1, Lyon are up 1-0 over Juventus, Bayern are 3-0 ahead of Chelsea, and Barcelona and Napoli are tied 1-1.

In the Europa League, all second round matches in the round-of-16 scheduled for March 20 were suspended.

They are Copenhagen vs Istanbul Basaksehir (Copenhagen lead 1-0 after the first leg), Roma vs Sevilla (tie postponed since first leg), Basel vs Eintracht Frankfurt (Basel lead 3-0), Manchester United vs LASK (United lead 5-0), Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Olympiakos Piraeus (tie level at 1-1), Bayer Leverkusen vs Rangers (Bayer Leverkusen lead 3-1), Shakhtar Donetsk vs Wolfsburg (Shakhtar Donetsk lead 2-1) and Getafe vs Internazionale (tie postponed since first leg).

Also called off by UEFA were all UEFA Youth League quarterfinals matches set for March 17 and 18, and the quarterfinals draws for the Champions League and Europa League set for March 20.

As to when the aforementioned tournaments will continue, the UEFA said decisions will be announced in due course.

VIDEO CONFERENCE SET

UEFA also scheduled a videoconference meeting on March 17 to discuss how European football would respond to the pandemic. Invited to the videoconference are representatives of UEFA’s 55-member associations along with board members of the European Club Association and European Leagues and a representative from FIFPro, the worldwide representative organisation of 65,000 professional football players.

Meanwhile, the entire club of Real Madrid was quarantined after one of ts basketball players tested positive for coronavirus.

While tournaments across Europe have been cancelling games for at least two weeks, the Premier League also announced the postponement of the league until the start of April.

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