Friday March 13 2020
The Coronavirus' effect on football

As the Coronavirus, or COVID-19 as it’s also known, spreads rapidly across Europe, football, and sport, is now coming to a standstill.

Serie A was the first major league to be affected by the virus, with games being postponed, rearranged, cancelled further, played behind closed doors, and then the league was finally suspended earlier this week.

As it stands, Juventus, Lazio, Inter and Atalanta would all qualify for next season’s Champions League, with Roma and Napoli claiming Europa League spots. Lecce, SPAL and Brescia would be relegated to Serie B.

Serie A was the first league to suspend its season, however all of the major leagues have now followed.

The Premier League announced today that it has suspended the season until April 3. If the season were to end now, Liverpool’s 30-year wait for a title would be over, and Man City, Leicester and Chelsea would all secure Champions League berths. Manchester United would earn a Europa League place. Norwich City, Bournemouth and Aston Villa would face relegation to the Championship.

La Liga announced yesterday that it was suspending its top division and Real Madrid players were put in quarantine after it was revealed that a Real Madrid basketball player tested positive for the virus, both sports clubs use the same facilities in the Spanish capital.

Should the season to end now, Barcelona would be hailed champions, with Real Madrid, Sevilla and Real Sociedad going into the Champions League.

Getafe and Atletico Madrid would qualify for the Europa League, with Mallorca, Leganes and Espanyol facing the drop.

The Bundesliga however hasn’t downed tools yet. This weekend’s fixtures will go ahead, however they will be played behind closed doors.

Following this weekend’s round of games, the league will be suspended from next week.

Bayern Munich sit atop the table, with Borussia Dortmund, RB Leipzig and Borussia Monchengladbach making up the rest of the top four. Europa League spots would be awarded to Bayer Leverkusen and Schalke.

Dropping into the German second tier would be Paderborn, Werder Bremen, Mainz and Fortuna Dusseldorf.

France’s Ligue 1 has also followed suit today, announcing that all games were to be suspended. Matches had already been played behind closed doors, but the decision was taken to postpone the season.

As it stands, Paris Saint-Germain would be crowned champions, with Marseille and Rennes making it into the Champions League. The Europa League place would go to Lille.

Relegated to Ligue 2 would be Nimes, Amiens and Tolouse.

As of writing, the major European leagues are targeting a return to recommencing their respective championships from April 3.

It’s unknown at this stage how the respective leagues would handle the virus prolonging beyond April 3, as this is only a provisional date.

Meanwhile, UEFA also announced today that all of its competitions are to be suspended. Only four ties of the Champions League Round of 16 have been concluded, with four games due to be played next week.

Juventus and Napoli were due to play Lyon and Barcelona respectively.

It’s just not Europe that is affected. The MLS declared yesterday that they have also suspended their season for a month following the outbreak in America.

The new season had only just kicked off, with all teams having played twice.

A round of international friendlies, due at the end of March, are also cancelled.

Italy had two friendlies arranged, with England on March 27 and Germany on March 31.

At this stage, Euro 2020 looks in serious doubt, and reports suggest it could be rearranged for next summer, as there is space on the football calendar to fit the event in.

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