Coronavirus hits Champions League, EPL too

Coronavirus hits Champions League, EPL too

England’s Premier League became the latest high-profile competition to announce a suspension as the coronavirus pandemic continued its unprecedented shutdown of world sport on Friday

Mexico's America Jorge Sanchez reacts after missing a chance to score during their CONCACAF Champions League first leg football match against US Atlanta United at Azteca Stadium in Mexico City on March 11, 2020. (AFP Photo)

England’s Premier League became the latest high-profile competition to announce a suspension as the coronavirus pandemic continued its unprecedented shutdown of world sport on Friday.

On another frenetic day of sporting turmoil the announcement that England’s top flight soccer league would be halted came shortly after the sport’s European governing body UEFA announced that all next week’s Champions League and Europa League games had been postponed.

After Thursday’s wipe-out which included placing American leagues the NBA, NHL and Major League Baseball on hold, forcing the cancellation of the Australian Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne, shutting down the men’s tennis Tour and curtailing golf’s Players Championship, the virus continued to decimate the global sporting calendar.

Despite the disruption, Tokyo Olympics organisers continued to sound an upbeat note on Friday, saying this year’s Games will go ahead as planned, although the iconic torch relay through Greece was cancelled after fears that unexpectedly large crowds could spread the coronavirus. While Tokyo organisers still have the luxury of time on their side, the impact on other sporting bodies wrestling with the coronavirus is immediate.

England’s Premier League had stood almost alone in not suspending the season, but at an emergency meeting it was decided that the fixtures would stop until April 4 at the earliest.

Arsenal’s fixture with Brighton and Hove Albion this weekend had already been postponed after manager Mikel Arteta tested positive for coronavirus. Chelsea’s players were in self-isolation after forward Callum Hudson-Odoi also tested positive.

Everton said one of their players was self-isolating as a coronavirus precaution.

Spain’s La Liga, Italy’s Serie A and the French Ligue 1 are all on hold although the Bundesliga was still planning to complete this weekend’s fixtures. In Serbia matches will go ahead behind closed doors.

With Europe’s top soccer leagues in limbo, the fate of the this season’s Euro 2020 championship, starting in June and hosted by 12 cities, remains unclear.

In cricket the two-Test cricket series between Sri Lanka and England was abandoned on Friday with England’s players being flown home, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said.

The 124th Boston Marathon, scheduled for April 20, has also been postponed to September 14. Meanwhile, the Augusta Masters, which was scheduled to start on April 9-12, has been cancelled.

DH Newsletter Privacy Policy Get top news in your inbox daily
GET IT
Comments (+)