How Has Coronavirus Affected Football and What Happens Next?


English football coronavirus

The FA, Premier League, EFL and FA Women's Super League and FA Women's Championship have all agreed to postpone the professional game in England until April 3 at the earliest. This comes just the morning after the Premier League announced the intention to continue to play games this weekend. However, after Arsenal's Mikel Arteta and Chelsea's Callum Hudson-Odoi contracted the virus, as well as the tests for COVID-19 at Everton and Leicester City, English football simply had no choice.

The FA have stated that this action will be kept under constant review and that this will also apply to academy and youth-team matches. They will continue to monitor government advice and have reiterated the priority of health and well-being for all involved, ahead of football.

The key here is the phrase from the statement: "at the earliest". This indicates that professional football has the intentions of continuing its suspension, should the coronavirus continue to spread and the risk of the FA Cup and Premier League being cancelled are now seriously high.

Ligue 1, La Liga, Bundesliga, Eredivisie and other worldwide leagues

French football organisations Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 have postponed all activity "until further notice" because of coronavirus. Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP) said the decision was made "unanimously" by the board of directors.

La Liga were one of the first competitions to announce the suspension of all football activity in Europe. The Spanish top-flight took action after a Real Madrid basketball player, who shares training facilities with the football club, tested positive. The Spanish second division is also suspended.

As for Dutch football, all matches in the Eredivisie have been stopped after the Dutch government's ban on events bringing together more than 100 people.

A day after the NBA announced the halting of their basketball season, the MLS have done the same, just a week after the new season began in the United States of America.

The same applies for the Bundesliga, who immediately followed Dutch football's plan to suspend all games, despite initially stating the matches will go ahead this weekend.

On the other hand, Portuguese football also changed their decision from playing games behind closed doors to a full suspension after a meeting with the league, the national federation, and players' union.

Euro 2020 coronavirus

Euro 2020 is on, as of now, but it has been thrown into serious doubt after UEFA postponed the Champions League and Europa League. UEFA announced that they would be discussing their competitions' future - both club and international - on Tuesday. However, after postponing the club competitions days before this meeting, it is tough to see Euro 2020 going ahead, come Tuesday.

But, as of now, the Euro's is happening. Although, this will most definitely change, and at the very least there will be significant alterations to the competition and supporters attending. Euro 2020 this year is set to take place in 12 different cities across 12 different countries, which will cause even more disruption than the matches being hosted in one country, as it forces more travel and more local support to mix with people arriving from other countries.

As mentioned, there is no definitive answer on Euro 2020, but expect a change. Reports have suggested for some time now that the international competition will be postponed to 2021 and considering how domestic competitions may be delayed also, Euro 2020's cancellation may simply just become a domino effect of constant suspension.

The International break

England have confirmed that the international football fixtures between the England national team and Italy and Denmark will not take place in March, and many other football associations across the world have done the same.

The Italian FA have been under the watchful eye of all football fans for some time, considering they have been one of the most hit countries. At the same time the Dutch FA, German FA and countless others have joined in on cancelling their international football fixtures, with the "health comes first" motive in mind.

As of now, there is currently not a date to play international fixtures and the English FA, for example, have stated they will continue to monitor the government advice before making a decision.

Expect the international break to just be used as a time for governing bodies and teams alike to reevaluate their moves going forward.

Will matches behind closed doors?

Many organisations around Europe have trailed playing behind closed doors, which, in theory, may work in preventing the virus, but it doesn't exactly boast any positives from a supporters perspective. Watching the game with no fans and also losing the hard-earned money supporters spent on season tickets, whilst the games continue, does not make sense, nor is it fair.

Federations such as the Portuguese FA did initially plan on playing games behind closed doors, but after reconsidering, they suspended all professional football activity. Instead of playing behind closed doors, it does seem as if the majority of federations and professional leagues have come to the understanding that it does not benefit anybody and now most games will either be suspended or cancelled, rather than played without fans around.

Simply put, as we all know, football without fans is nothing.

Will football be called off for the season?

As of now, it's unaware how long football will be postponed for, or if indeed everything will be cancelled within the sport for the season. Currently, every governing body in the sport is working alongside the respective authorities, such as the government, and following the guidelines set to determine the best possible solution.

It is tough to predict how things will continue in football with COVID-19. Some leagues like Serie A could well be done for the season, as Italy are one of the world's most infected countries. On the other hand, fears of the Premier League being cancelled are increasing with Everton, Leicester, Chelsea, Arsenal and Bournemouth all reporting incidents of either positive COVID-19 tests or precautionary self-isolation.

Events like international football, for now, are all but guaranteed to be halted and Euro 2020 may well follow suit.