Sports Football 13 Mar 2020 Football goes off th ...

Football goes off the field in Europe at least till April first week

Published Mar 13, 2020, 5:29 pm IST
Updated Mar 13, 2020, 5:29 pm IST
UEFA postpone all Champions League and Europa League matches; EPL and Ligue 1 follow suit
The likely scene at football stadiums all over Europe for the next 20 days. AFP Photo
 The likely scene at football stadiums all over Europe for the next 20 days. AFP Photo

Paris: COVID-19 has literally applied brakes on football action all over Europe with UEFA, English Premier League and French Ligue One putting off all their matches at least for three weeks.

UEFA Champions League and Europa League matches scheduled to be played next week have been postponed, European football's governing body said on Friday.


The move comes after two of next week's four scheduled Champions League last 16, second legs -- between Manchester City and Real Madrid, and between Juventus and Lyon -- had already been called off on Thursday.

That followed Real's announcement that their squad had been placed in quarantine after one of the club's basketball players tested positive for the virus. Juventus defender Daniele Rugani has also tested positive for the virus.

Two other matches scheduled for next Wednesday, between Barcelona and Napoli and between Bayern Munich and Chelsea, were initially due to go ahead behind closed doors.


"In the light of developments due to the spread of COVID-19 in Europe and related decisions made by different governments, all UEFA club competitions matches scheduled next week are postponed," UEFA said in a statement.

"Further decisions on when these matches take place will be communicated in due course." The postponements also affect all the second legs of the Europa League last-16 round.

The body will hold a crisis meeting next Tuesday to work out a way forward for their club competitions and for Euro 2020, which could now be postponed by a year due to the pandemic.


Several European countries, including Italy, Spain and France, have suspended their domestic leagues. (AFP)


EPL suspended until April 4

The English Premier League suspended all fixtures until April 4 on Friday after a spate of coronavirus cases, including Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta and Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi.

"Following a meeting of shareholders today, it was unanimously decided to suspend the Premier League with the intention of returning on 4 April, subject to medical advice and conditions at the time," the Premier League said in a statement.



French season suspended 'until further notice'

The French football season has been suspended "until further notice", the LFP, which runs the elite Ligue 1 and Ligue 2, announced on Friday.

In a statement, the league said it had taken a "unanimous" decision to stop playing with immediate effect at an emergency meeting on Friday, having previously said games would continue to be played behind closed doors until mid-April.

In addition, the Dutch and Swiss domestic leagues have been put on hold until the end of the month, while Portugal has announced its top two divisions will be suspended "indefinitely".