The deadly COVID 19 virus has brought the world to a standstill. And as expected the sports industry has been nearly shut down to prevent further damage. Let’s have a look at the major footballing events that were cancelled or postponed as fans try & survive without much live activity that is so indispensable to their lives.
The beautiful game seems to be the worst affected as most leagues or tournaments have been postponed. Many notable players have been diagnosed with positive & are under-recovery. Juventus defender Daniele Rugani was the first popular player to test positive which sent the footballing world into panic mode. The Italian champions house some of the biggest names in world football led by superstar Cristiano Ronaldo. His teammate Blaise Matuidi is the latest victim to fall prey to the virus. There have been other players including the likes Manolo Gabbaidini who also tested positive in the Seria A. The situation is also grim in Spain where 35% of the first team squad & staff have been confirmed positive by Valencia. This includes stars like Ezequiel Garay & Eliquim Mangala. It seems under better control in the English Premier League as the only 2 cases have been
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta & Chelsea youngster Callum Hudson Odoi. However, there was a piece of tragic news as 21-year-old coach Francisco Garcia, who worked with Spanish league second division side Atletico Portada Alta, died in Malaga after contracting the dreaded Covid-19. He was also found to be suffering from leukaemia after being rushed to a local hospital with severe COVID-19 symptoms.
Following the spread of the virus, the English FA suspended the English Premier League, English Football League, and Women’s Championship amongst other cups until atleast April 3. Similarly, UEFA postponed the Champions League & Europa League matches. They also postponed the Euro 2020 championship to a year later. Although there are a few leagues which are still underway like the Turkish League & Australia’s A League, they are expected to be suspended soon. Nigerian star John Obi Mikel left Trabzonspor days after the former Chelsea midfielder said he did not feel comfortable with top-flight games in Turkey being played despite the coronavirus pandemic. The Super Lig team confirmed in a statement that the Nigerian, who joined them last year and had a contract until May 2021, had left by mutual consent.
Many footballers have also stepped in to contribute for the relief work. Zlatan Ibrahimovic has set up an online fundraiser to help fight the pandemic – and pledged €100,000 (£91,000) to the cause himself. The Milan striker has set a target of €1million to support hospitals and medical staff in Italy, which is the centre of the pandemic in Europe. Liverpool star Sadio Mane has donated £41,000 to help aid the fight against coronavirus in Senegal. The former Southampton winger “decided to make the donation spontaneously when he saw the evolution of the situation.” He also sent a video message to his Senegalese compatriots telling them to take the virus seriously, urging them to disinfect their hands and to stay safe.
It remains to be seen how much longer the fans will have to wait to gather in the stands to see their favourite players rise from the tunnels while the commentators shout at the top of their lungs & the beautiful game resumes from this forced half time.