The Premier League have confirmed that all games have been suspended until April 3 at the earliest.
As late as last night, the league had released a statement insisting the weekend’s fixtures would go ahead as planned, but the turning point seemed to be Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta’s diagnosis.
Since then, it’s also been confirmed that Chelsea’s Callum Hudson-Odoi had been suffering from the virus.
Bournemouth, Leicester City and Everton all have players in self-isolation having displayed symptoms. In short, playing a contact sport in stadia of tens of thousands of people was simply not viable.
For many, it’s a surprise the Premier League took as long as it did to act. Serie A and La Liga were already suspended and English football seemed to be falling behind.
We now have some clarity. There will be no Premier League or English Football League fixtures taking place until April 3, but realistically it looks like the suspension will be much longer.
The BBC’s sports editor Dan Roan has tweeted that officials admit privately that there is “no chance” of the calendar resuming in three weeks’ time and that the hiatus will be extended.
At present, it’s hoped that the season won’t be scrapped altogether. The only way to avoid that may be to push Euro 2020 back a year, freeing up the summer months to finish the Premier League season.
An emergency meeting was held today and some Premier League clubs were reportedly pushing to have the 2019/20 campaign declared null and void.
If that were to happen – and it cannot be ruled out yet, depending on how this health crisis develops – it’s still unclear how that would impact champions-elect Liverpool, or whether teams would be relegated or qualify for Europe.
We might not be any closer to finding out the real ramifications until April, but it has to be said the season is now in doubt.
- Arsenal confirm Mikel Arteta has coronavirus
- Benjamin Mendy is in precautionary self-isolation
- Premier League and EFL suspended until April 3