This season’s edition of the Champions League and Europa League, as well as the summers European championships, are all said to be in doubt due to the coronavirus crisis, with UEFA confirming that they will hold ‘discussions’ with football officials from across the continent.
The rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus has dominated headlines on both front and back pages over recent weeks, with Serie A already suspending football until at least next month as Italy struggles to contain the outbreak, with two players – Daniele Rugani and Manolo Gabbiadini – having been confirmed to have contracted the virus.
However, a number of other European countries are also experiencing rising numbers of infections, with the Spanish La Liga also following suit and temporarily suspending fixtures after Real Madrid announced that their players were being quarantined due to an outbreak at their Madrid training base.
Closer to home, we’ve already seen Man City‘s already rearranged fixture against Arsenal be further postponed after a number of the Gunners playing squad were in close proximity to the Olympiakos owner Evangelos Marinakis who had tested positive for the virus, while Leicester City boss Brendan Rodgers today confirmed that three of the Foxes playing squad have gone into isolation after displaying symptoms.
Brendan Rodgers: "We've had a few players that have shown symptoms and signs (of coronavirus). We’ve followed procedures and (as a precaution) they have been kept away from the squad." pic.twitter.com/KZDXeRgzhT
— Leicester City (@LCFC) March 12, 2020
The Times this morning reported that all domestic football in England is likely to be played behind closed doors, though the growing number of confirmed coronavirus cases and postponements has cast doubt on when fixtures could eventually be completed, if at all, with this summers trans-continental European championships due to get underway in mid-June.
Speaking about the global pandemic, UEFA have announced that they will now hold discussions with a number of footballing figures early next week to review the football calendar.
A statement on UEFA.com reads: “In the light of the ongoing developments in the spread of COVID-19 across Europe and the changing analysis of the World Health Organisation, UEFA has today invited representatives of its 55 member associations, together with the boards of the European Club Association and the European Leagues and a representative of FIFPro, to attend meetings by videoconference on Tuesday 17 March to discuss European football’s response to the outbreak.
Following the quarantine imposed on players of Juventus and Real Madrid, the following #UCL matches will not take place as scheduled.
🏴 Manchester City – Real Madrid 🇪🇸
🇮🇹 Juventus – Olympique Lyonnais 🇫🇷
Further decisions on the matches will be communicated in due course.
— UEFA (@UEFA) March 12, 2020
“Discussions will include all domestic and European competitions, including UEFA EURO 2020.
“Further communication will be made following those meetings.”
It has been suggested by French publication L’Equipe that the European governing body are expected to move their international summer tournament to next summer, freeing up time this summer to allow domestic competitions, the Champions League and Europa League to be concluded, though there remains the possibility that they could also be cancelled outright.