THE LATEST UPDATES IN FOOTBALL AND OTHER MAJOR SPORTS.
By Steve Wade
Football may seem trivial in the current situation but the effect that the Covid-19 pandemic is having on it is unprecedented around the world. We’ve gathered up the latest information from various sources and will attempt to pinpoint the efforts various organisations are putting forward to combat this difficult situation.
THE PREMIER LEAGUE AND EUROPEAN FOOTBALL
The English Premier League is tentatively targeting a resumption on June 1 with a view to completing the season over six weeks before making an August start to the 2020-21 campaign, the latest report is claiming.
The report said the sketchy plan was a “best-case scenario” aimed at mitigating the heavy losses clubs are sustaining as they continue to pay wages while football remains shut down because of the Corona virus pandemic.
On March 13, all elite level soccer matches in England, including the Premier League, were suspended until April 4 with that stoppage subsequently extended until April 30.
The postponement of the Euro 2020 championship for a year, however, has cleared space in the calendar for domestic competitions to finish if the public health situation allows.
Under the plan being considered, the Premier League and FA Cup competitions would be resumed with matches played behind closed doors.
The 2020-21 campaign would get underway after a short break on Aug. 8, the report said, allowing the league to fulfill its commitments in the second season of three-year broadcast deals worth 9.2 billion pounds.
The report concludes that “progress of COVID-19 remains unclear and we can reassure everyone the health and welfare of players, staff and supporters are our priority. We will continue to follow Government advice and work collaboratively to keep the situation under review and explore all options available to find ways of resuming the season when the conditions allow”.
Looking at the current situation a June 1st resumption seems optimistic with the situation in mainland Europe worsening daily and EUFA not even being able to begin to reschedule the Champions league and Europa league matches.
As far as the situation in the major European leagues are concerned, the Bundesliga, Serie A and La Liga will be the last thing on most people’s minds, and rightly so, as the countries that host these competitions are in the midst of the worst outbreak of the pandemic.
Meanwhile the travelling circus that is Formula 1 has not even begun. The global coronavirus crisis has sent shockwaves through sport and Formula 1, like all other major organisations, is grappling with the question of how to move forward.
The season has been thrown into disarray. The first six races have been postponed – or cancelled completely in the case of the Monaco Grand Prix, the jewel in F1’s crown – and as coronavirus spreads, no-one is quite sure what happens next.
The F1 season cannot start until the world has a grasp of the virus. The sport requires international travel, and it’s impossible to know at what point countries will start to ease restrictions on that.
So, realistically, there will be no F1 until there are clear signs the virus is suppressed. And that is likely to take months. The question is: how many?
Very much along the lines of Formula 1, both the American PGA and European golf tours are a constantly moving mobile community that travels worldwide because of their various schedules. Both are shut down at the moment and the current state of affairs in both Europe, America and the various countries that both tours visit worldwide make a resumption anytime soon most unlikely. Even the Ryder Cup, not set to take place until the end of September is under threat. All four major championships were brought closer together last year with their new spots on the calendar and it would be a surprise if any survived, with perhaps the British Open having the best chance with its late July slot.
The only major sporting event dragging its feet over the situation is the 2020 Olympic games being held in Tokyo. In my opinion this can’t possibly go ahead. Nearly all the qualifying competitions are being cancelled and the latest call by the American track and field association to postpone the games should be the final nail in the coffin for any hopes of the games going ahead in July. In fact it may be that they will be delayed for as much as two years.
So that’s the situation. Every major sport that attracts large crowds, and some that don’t, are in disarray. The truth of the matter is, much like the bigger and more important picture, no one knows where, when or how this is going to end. On a more personal and local note, the damage this must be doing to our friends here in Pattaya that rely on these major events to attract customers to their businesses must be very worrying. We wish them and everyone else who is battling through this dreadful situation the very best of luck.