Football is over, for now. The coronavirus pandemic continues to ripple around the world, and sport is grinding to an unceremonious halt.
Premier League and Football League teams, as well as countless others around the world are waiting patiently for the green light to resume operations, but it may be some time before the beautiful game returns to pitches across the globe.
With so much information flying around, RadioTimes.com will be constantly updating the feed below with updates, cancellations, selected tweets and more as football reels from to ongoing crisis.
Thursday 19th March
UK football postponement extended
The wait to resume will go on for Premier League, Football League and the professional women’s game following a joint announcement by the FA and leagues.
UK football had been paused until 4th April, but now that date has been pushed back until 30th April and may extend further.
A statement read: “We are united in our commitment to finding ways of resuming the 2019/20 football season and ensuring all domestic and European club league and cup matches are played as soon as it is safe and possible to do so.
“The FA’s Rules and Regulations state that “the season shall terminate not later than the 1st June” and “each competition shall, within the limit laid down by The FA, determine the length of its own playing season”.
“However, The FA’s Board has agreed for this limit to be extended indefinitely for the 2019/20 season in relation to Professional Football.
“Additionally, we have collectively agreed that the professional game in England will be further postponed until no earlier than 30th April.”
Premier League meet today to discuss season end
The Premier League will meet today in a bid to thrash out a solution to end the 2019/20 season.
Numerous ideas have been floated on social media, but this conference call is likely to form the basis of the plan to resume football.
The main focus of the meeting will be on finishing the 2019/20 season, but with clubs feeling the stress and strain of the financial implications, no doubt the conversation will involve discussions on how clubs can stay afloat during these testing times.
Wednesday 18th March
Arsenal to return to training next week
It may seem like a stretch right now, but as things stand, Arsenal are preparing for a return to full training as soon as next week.
Manager Mikel Arteta tested positive for the virus early in the pandemic which forced the squad into a 14-day period of self-isolation.
This is due to end next Tuesday, with players still set for a return to their London Colney base at this moment in time.
However, the rapid-changing nature of the pandemic could easily see the goalposts shifted once more for teams across the globe.
Roman Abramovich offers hotel to NHS staff
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has opened the Millennium Hotel – next to Stamford Bridge – for free use by asymptomatic NHS workers battling the coronavirus pandemic.
A statement read: “Many of the medical staff will be working long shifts and may not be able to travel home or would otherwise have to make long commutes. Local accommodation helps maintain the health and well-being of these crucial personnel at this critical time.
“This will be for a two-month period, and then reconsidered in light of circumstances at the time. NHS staff will be those working in hospitals in the North-West London region, but that may extend to hospitals in other districts.”
Blaise Matuidi tests positive for coronavirus
A second Juventus player has been diagnosed with coronavirus.
Blaise Matuidi has contracted the disease but is described as “well and asymptomatic” having been in self-isolation since 11th March.
Centre back Daniele Rugani was among the first footballers to suffer from COVID-19 last week.
We wish both stars a speedy recovery!
Tuesday 17th March
Clubs ‘commit to complete’ domestic seasons before July
A potentially enormous moment for football has arrived…
In the grand scheme of things, finishing off the 2019/20 campaign really isn’t the top priority, but European clubs have reportedly committed to completing the season by 30th June during the UEFA meeting earlier today.
Premier League and Football League clubs will convene later in the week to work on a plan to get the wheels moving again.
— Bryan Swanson (@skysports_bryan) March 17, 2020
Three radical solutions to complete the Premier League season
Logistics aside, nobody wants the Premier League season to be nullified, voided, cancelled unless you’re an a Bournemouth, Aston Villa or Norwich fan. Or a Liverpool-hating Manchester United fan. Or Manchester City. Or Everton.
Ok, a lot of people would be totally cool if the season was scrubbed out of existence, but here at RadioTimes.com, we wouldn’t be.
Introducing three radical plans to get the show back on the road, featuring a half-season, mini leagues and more.
Does the Champions League final have a new date?
Italian journalist Adriano Del Monte has suggested that the Champions League final may have a new date – and it’s far sooner than you may expect.
He believes the game – scheduled for May 29th – has only been knocked back a month, despite the tournament being frozen in the round of 16 phase.
If the season restarts at the beginning of April, there may be a chance, though with the peak of the pandemic yet to arrive, the situation remains unclear.
???? #UCL Final new date: June 27
— Adriano Del Monte (@adriandelmonte) March 17, 2020
FA support UEFA decision to postpone Euro 2020
FA chief executive Mark Bullingham has spoken following the decision by UEFA to postpone Euro 2020 for 12 months.
He said: “People’s health and wellbeing has to be the primary concern for all of us, so we fully support UEFA’s decision to postpone Euro 2020,” he said.
“We’ll be considering the implications for all England teams and our organisation over the coming days, including any implications on the date of the 2021 women’s Euro which we are very proud to be hosting.
“We’ll continue to work in collaboration with the PL, EFL and our football partners on the scenarios that could follow UEFA’s decision today and ensure we’re ready to put them into immediate action once it is appropriate to do so.
“Until then, we’ll continue to follow the advice of government and the health authorities.”
UEFA confirms Euro 2020 postponement
The showpiece international event has been pushed back 12 months to 2021.
This means the first piece of the puzzle has been shifted in terms of putting football back on track.
Football won’t be coming home in 2020, but now domestic leagues have a little extra wriggle room to try and complete the 2019/20 campaign at some point in the near future.
Full story – UEFA statement about Euro 2020