Football worst affected as all sport comes to a standstill

Indian National Football Team (Photo: Instagram @gkgurpreet)
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London– As the sports world has come to a standstill due to the outbreak of the coronavirus, football has been affected the most with all action across the globe coming to a sudden halt.

Starting from the lucrative English Premier League and Spanish La Liga to the much-awaited Euro 2020 tournament, which is considered second to the football World Cup in terms of popularity, all competitions have either been cancelled or pushed back.

The Euro 2020 tournament has been postponed until 2021, European football’s governing body UEFA said in a statement on March 17.

The 24-team meet, which was due to be held in 12 nations across the continent from June 12 to July 12 this year, would now take place from June 11 to July 11 2021.

Following in its footsteps, this year’s Copa America has been postponed until 2021, the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) said on March 17. The 12-team competition had originally been scheduled to take place from June 12 to July 12 in Colombia and Argentina.

In England, all elite football has been suspended until at least April 3 while UEFA postponed the Champions League and the Europa League.

Spanish La Liga and second division domestic football have been suspended for the next two match days, the Spanish football federation La Liga and the players’ union said on March 12.

Germany’s Bundesliga and second division will not be held at least until April 2.

Europe’s worst-hit country, Italy, has cancelled all sporting events until at least April 3. In Asia, Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has agreed to postpone the Asian World Cup qualifying matches in March and June and all football in the continent has been stopped.

India saw the Indian Super League (ISL) final played behind closed doors in Goa while the I-League matches were postponed with India’s World Cup qualifying games against Qatar in Bhubaneswar also pushed back from March 26.

The Confederation of African Football has postponed two rounds of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers scheduled from March 25-31.

Coming to the players, Juventus’ Blaise Matuidi, a World Cup winner with France, has been among those who have tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

Elsewhere, organisers of the Olympics are still hellbent on making the spectacle take place in Tokyo between July 24 to August 9 as scheduled, despite growing concerns from every corner including athletes who are not able to train properly and take part in Olympic qualifiers.

In cricket-crazy India, the cash rich Indian Premier League (IPL) has been postponed till April 15 from March 29 and India’s home ODI series against South Africa had to be called off with the Proteas team having to leave India even after travelling for the three-match series.

England batsman Alex Hales reportedly showed symptoms before leaving the Pakistan Super League which was also called off. Later, Hales issued a statement saying he had developed fever.

The NBA suspended the season indefinitely after a Utah Jazz player tested positive for coronavirus. NBA star Kevin Durant also was among the four basketball players from Brooklyn Nets who have tested positive.

The World Athletics Indoor Championships, scheduled for Nanjing from March 13 to 15, have been postponed until next year while Formula 1 has cancelled the season-opening Australian GP after a McLaren team member contracted the coronavirus.

The professional tennis tour – men’s and women’s – has been pushed back till June 7, with all clay court tournaments in Europe called off. The French Open has been postponed until September 20 – October 4.

In Greece, the torch-lighting ceremony for the Tokyo Olympics in ancient Olympia was held behind closed doors. (IANS)



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