Corona Virus And Football | Latest News | Updated Hourly

Oluwole Ola

 

The latest update on the corona virus epidemic and how it is affecting football. (This page is updated every hour)

Headlines
  • Coronavirus: Cancellations and reactions in sports
  • English Football Extends Suspension To April 30
  • Blaise Matuidi Diagnosed with Coronavirus
  • Spanish FA Dismiss The Idea Of Crowning Barca As Champions
  • Valencia Say 35% of squad, Staff Tested Positive
  • UEFA postpones Euro 2020
 
English Football Extends Suspension To April 30

English football will not return until April 30 “at the earliest”, it has been decided at an emergency meeting between Premier League clubs, but the 2019/20 season will be extended indefinitely.

Officials from all 20 English top-flight clubs spoke over a conference call on Thursday morning to co-ordinate a strategy for completing the fixture list in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic which has led to the suspension of almost all sport.

It has been decided that the Premier League, the EFL and women’s football will continue to be suspended until April 30 “at the earliest”.

The deadline for returning to action has also been extended indefinitely as part of an agreement with the FA.

Bournemouth captain Simon Francis reacts to the breaking news that the Premier League season will be extended
A statement after the meeting, published by the Premier League said: “The FA, Premier League, EFL and women’s professional game, together with the PFA and LMA, understand we are in unprecedented times and our thoughts are with everyone affected by COVID-19.

 

Sadio Mane Donates £41,000 To Senegal To Help Fight Coronavirus

Liverpool forward Sadio Mane is known for giving back to the society, and now, amid the fight against the coronavirus, he is reported to have donated £41,000 to help fight the pandemic in his home country.

Mane has made his donation to the FCFA, a health body fighting coronavirus in Senegal, with a total of 27 confirmed cases in his home country.

Speaking to BBC Sport, his agent said Mane made the said donation ‘spontaneously when he saw the evolution of the situation.’

The Champions League winner also took to his social media to advise his county people to take the virus ‘extremely seriously’, before giving his followers tips on how to stave off the disease by applying ‘disinfectant or wash your hands for at least 30 seconds’.

 
Blaise Matuidi Diagnosed with Coronavirus; 2nd Juventus Player to Test Positive

Juventus confirmed on Tuesday Blaise Matuidi has tested positive for the new coronavirus. The Serie A giants released a statement on the club’s official website detailing the midfielder’s condition.

Matuidi, who has been in “voluntary home isolation” since Wednesday, March 11, is said to be well and “asymptomatic.”

The Frenchman is the second Juve player to test positive for the virus since the outbreak began. Centre-back Daniele Rugani tested positive for COVID-19, was isolated and later revealed on Twitter (h/t BBC Sport) he was feeling “fine.”

Like Rugani, Matuidi is following the procedures put in place to help halt the spread of the disease. COVID-19 is a strain of coronavirus that can attack the lungs and airways of those infected.

 
“Barcelona Can’t Be Crowned Champions Just Yet”

The president of the Spanish football federation has dismissed the idea of crowning Barcelona as league champions if the competition can’t resume because of coronavirus.

Luis Rubiales says the federation is not contemplating calling off the rest of the season and awarding the title to Barcelona, which was leading the league when it was suspended.

Rubiales says the goal is to finish all competition by June 30, but they may be extended beyond that if necessary.

He says he would prefer altering the calendar next season instead of making changes that could keep this one from finishing fairly.

 
Valencia Say 35% of squad, Staff Tested Positive For Coronavirus

La Liga side Valencia have said more than a third of their playing and backroom staff have tested positive for the coronavirus but that all cases were currently asymptomatic.

Expect UEFA, soccer to explore ‘least bad’ solutions in Tuesday summit
The club had reported five cases of coronavirus on Sunday, with Argentina’s Ezequiel Garay and France’s Eliaquim Mangala both confirming they were among those who had contracted the virus.

“Several further tests for the COVID-19 coronavirus amongst Valencia coaching staff and players have come back positive,” the club said in a statement.

 

National Sports Festival Postponed

President of Nigeria Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the postponement of the 2020 National Sports Festival.
The festival which was to be held from Sunday, March 22 to Wednesday, April 1 in Edo State has now been postponed.

The postponement was ordered by Buhari after he was briefed of the danger of the festival happening amidst the outbreak of coronavirus by the sports minister Sunday Dare and his health counterpart Osagie Ehanire.

 

Copa America postponed from 2020 to 2021

The announcement came shortly after UEFA’s similar decision to also push back Euro 2020 by 12 months.

The Copa is South America’s main continental competition between national sides and had been scheduled to run between June 12-July 12.

The competition was being staged for the first time in two countries rather than one. The finals featuring 12 teams, for this edition included invitees Australia and Qatar.

 

UEFA postpones Euro 2020

UEFA said the new proposed dates for the tournament were June 11 to July 11 next year, as Euro 2020 becomes Euro 2021.

It said the postponement would “will help all domestic competitions, currently on hold due to the COVID-19 emergency, to be completed”.

The announcement comes after UEFA held crisis talks with its national associations as well as clubs and players bodies via videoconference, as the continent fights to deal with the health crisis.

“The health of all those involved in the game is the priority, as well as to avoid placing any unnecessary pressure on national public services involved in staging matches,” UEFA said in a statement.

 

CAF Postpones AFCON Qualifiers

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has postponed this month’s 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying matches indefinitely because of the coronavirus.

The continent’s football governing body made the decision on Friday in order to protect the health and safety of stakeholders including players, sponsors, match officials and broadcasters.

The games were initially fixed to take place between March 25 and March 31 across various countries in the continent.

 

Premier League Suspended

The Premier League season has been suspended until April 3 at the earliest due to the widespread coronavirus outbreak, following an emergency meeting on Friday.

It becomes the latest high-profile football competition to take preventative action, with the Champions League and Europa League, as well as La Liga, Ligue 1 and Serie A, announcing suspensions to play.

A statement read from the Football Association read: “The FA, Premier League, EFL and Barclays FA Women’s Super League and FA Women’s Championship have collectively agreed to postpone the professional game in England until 3 April at the earliest.

“This action, which will be kept under constant review, has been taken due to the increasing numbers of clubs taking steps to isolate their players and staff because of the COVID-19 virus.”

The Premier League also said it is the league’s aim to reschedule the displaced fixtures, including those played by academy sides, when it is safe to do so.

 

UEFA Considering Calling Off The UCL | March 13, 2020 | 5am

UEFA will discuss the postponement of Euro 2020 and potential cancellation of this season’s Champions League and Europa League during an emergency video conference involving all 55 European football associations next Tuesday.

With the spread of the coronavirus beginning to decimate the global sporting calendar, European football has already seen the postponement of several Champions League and Europa League fixtures, plus the temporary shutdown of domestic leagues in Italy and Spain.

The coronavirus crisis has led to Euro 2020 and both of UEFA’S major club competitions being placed in serious doubt, and UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has summoned next week’s conference — to be staged over video to avoid unnecessary travel — in order for the member associations to attempt to address the growing question marks over European football.

A UEFA statement said: “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 video conference on Tuesday 17 March to discuss European football’s response to the outbreak.

“Discussions will include all domestic and European competitions, including UEFA EURO 2020.”

 

Hudson Odoi Test Positive; Mendy In Isolation | March 13, 2020 | 2:28am

Chelsea player Callum Hudson-Odoi has tested positive for coronavirus, the club announced early Friday morning.

The 19-year-old England youngster is the latest football figure to test positive for the virus that has caused sporting event cancellations and suspensions across the globe.

In a statement, the club said: “Chelsea personnel who had recent close contact with the player in the men’s team building will now self-isolate in line with Government health guidelines. These will include initially the full men’s team squad, coaching staff and a number of backroom staff.

“It is expected that those who did not have close contact with Callum will return to work in the coming days. In the meantime, the men’s team building, one of several separate buildings at our training ground, will remain closed. The rest of our training facility, Stamford Bridge and our other facilities are operating as normal.

“Callum displayed symptoms similar to a mild cold on Monday morning and has not been at the training ground since then as a precaution. However, his test came in positive this evening and he will undergo a period of self-isolation. Despite testing positive for the virus, Callum is doing well and looking forward to returning to the training ground as soon as it is possible.”

Manchester City defender Benjamin Mendy is self-isolating after being tested for coronavirus, sources have told ESPN. A relative of Mendy’s is believed to have suffered respiratory problems on Thursday and was taken to hospital.

In response, Mendy has been tested for COVID-19 and while City wait for the results, the Frenchman has been ordered to go into self-isolation at home.

The 25-year-old is now unlikely to feature against Burnley at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

Along with Hudson-Odoi and Arteta, Juventus defender Daniele Rugani and Hannover’s Timo Hubers have tested positive.

 

Premier League Call For Emergency Meeting | Friday, March 13 | 12am

The Premier League will hold an emergency meeting on Friday morning to discuss future fixtures after Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta was diagnosed with the coronavirus, the league announced.

“In light of Arsenal’s announcement tonight confirming that their first-team coach Mikel Arteta has tested positive for COVID-19, the Premier League will convene an emergency club meeting tomorrow morning regarding future fixtures,” the league said in a statement on Thursday night.

“The Premier League will make no further comment until after that meeting.”

 

Arteta Test Positive; Brighton/Arsenal Called Off | March 12, 2020 | 11am

Despite the Premier League’s statement, Arsenal’s Saturday opponent, Brighton and Hove Albion, released a statement following the Arteta news that the game between the two teams had been postponed.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has tested positive for the coronavirus, the club announced on Thursday in a statement on their website.

In light of the news, their Saturday match with Brighton and Hove Albion will be postponed, while the Gunners said that a number of Arsenal personnel, including the full first-team squad would self isolate.

The Arsenal statement regarding Arteta read: “Our London Colney training centre has been closed after head coach Mikel Arteta received a positive COVID-19 result this evening.

Arsenal’s match against Manchester City on Wednesday was cancelled after the club announced that several players and staff had come in contact with Olympiakos owner Evangelos Marinakis, who had also tested positive for the coronavirus, following a Europa League match at the Emirates at the end of February.

 

Premier League Clubs Conducting Checks

According to Jason Burt of the Telegraph, all players at an unnamed Premier League club are today being tested for the coronavirus after three first-team players displayed symptoms. The test results are expected back tomorrow.

If the results come back positive the club’s game this weekend will certainly be called off but it will also lead to huge pressure on the Premier League to follow the lead of other European leagues and suspend all matches.

 

La Liga Suspended 

La Liga has announced the competition will be suspended for a minimum of two weeks following the outbreak of the coronavirus in Spain.

The top two tiers of Spanish football have followed the country’s lower divisions after La Liga confirmed all competitions would be temporarily halted.

 

Real Madrid Quarantine Players

Real Madrid have also confirmed that their football squad is in quarantine after one of the club’s basketball players tested positive for the coronavirus.

The club announced the decision in a statement on Thursday on their official Twitter account, noting the basketball and football teams share the same training facilities:

 
 Defender Test Positive

Juventus defender Daniele Rugani has tested positive for the coronavirus, the club announced Wednesday.

A club statement read: “The footballer, Daniele Rugani has tested positive for Coronavirus-COVID-19 and is currently asymptomatic.

“Juventus football club is currently activating all the isolation procedures required by law, including those who have had contact with him.”

Rugani becomes the most prominent professional footballer to test positive for the virus. German club Hannover also announced Wednesday that defender Timo Hubers tested positive.

Defending Serie A champions Juventus said Rugani and “those who have had contact with him” are being isolated.

 

REPORT: UEFA To Suspend Competitions

UEFA are imminently set to announce that the Champions League and Europa League will be suspended immediately, report Marca.

It is said that whilst no official announcement has yet been made, it is widely expected within the next few hours that there is a total shutdown across the two competitions.

It throws the world of football into further chaos with a number of matches scheduled to be taking place in the competition on Thursday.

The matches between Sevilla and Roma along with Getafe’s trip to Inter have already been postponed due to the decisions of governments, but UEFA have not yet intervened in individual cases as things stand.

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