Match of the Day has been removed from BBC One’s schedule for Saturday night.
In the wake of the Premier League confirming that all games have been suspended until April 4, the iconic programme will retreat into hibernation in accordance with the fixtures.
The news came just hours after the Premier League insisted they would execute the weekend’s matchers in light of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decree that sporting events could continue.
However, England’s top flight was forced to change their trajectory after Arsenal confirmed that their manager, Mikel Arteta, had tested positive for the coronavirus.
Arsenal were forced to withdraw from their tie against Brighton & Hove Albion as a result and the Premier League scheduled an emergency meeting for Friday morning.
Premier League cancel fixtures
But before the organisation’s big wigs could even sit down to discuss the matter, Callum Hudson-Odoi of Chelsea became the first known case of a player in the league to contract the virus.
It was the tip of the iceberg that saw the Premier League follow in the footsteps of Serie A, La Liga and Ligue 1 by suspending fixtures regardless of whether fans were attending.
As a result, according to Jack Rosser, there is no action for Gary Lineker and his team of pundits to commentate on during MOTD’s regular slot on Saturday.
Replaced by Mrs Brown’s Boys
And it’s forced the BBC to revise their schedule, meaning that Mrs Brown’s Boys Live, as opposed to an alternate sporting programme, will now follow the News At Ten.
Brendan O’Carroll’s popular comedy has been running since 2011 and this particular edition carries the description: “anything could happen… and probably will.”
It’s a scheduling change that, albeit ultimately in tragic circumstances, has amused football fans on social media who seem unimpressed with the BBC’s replacement act.
And while, yes, perhaps MOTD could still have discussed the recent pandemic in their usual slot, there can be no denying that sport is of little importance in such a challenging time.
Hundreds of people around the world are dying from a condition that must be contained and halting the Premier League is a step in the right direction for the UK.
We are, after all, facing a greater challenge than any that have been depicted on MOTD.
- Callum Hudson-Odoi tests positive for coronavirus
- Some top-flight clubs want Premier League season voided
- Arsenal confirm Mikel Arteta has coronavirus