Just like most major sports across the globe, soccer is one that has taken serious precautions against the novel coronavirus. Currently, the MLS and USL Championship are the most recent leagues to have their season suspended by 30 days due to the pandemic.
COVID-19 is affecting more than just soccer in the United States, however. In Europe, almost every league’s season, except the Premier League, has been suspended indefinitely or for a certain number of days. Italy, the country hit the hardest by the virus, was among the first country of Europe’s largest leagues to suspend its Serie A and Serie B leagues for 30 days, but this is likely to change given how fast its spreading. Additionally, Spain’s La Liga is the latest to have its league suspended, albeit for a shorter period of time than other leagues.
There is currently one player with the virus, Juventus defender Daniele Rugani. It’s still unknown if there are more players with the virus at the time of writing — though this may change as well since Premier League club Leicester City have three players in self-quarantine due to having coronavirus-like symptoms on Thursday. PSG’s Kylian Mbappe was tested for the coronavirus since he had a fever and a throat infection, however his results came back negative.
As I said earlier, the Premier League is the only major league in Europe that hasn’t suspended their league. However, it was confirmed Thursday night that Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta tested positive for COVID-19, half an hour after the Premier League announcing this weekend’s games would still be played with fans able to attend. The league will hold an emergency meeting today with Premier League clubs regarding future games.
Looking forward, I think it’ll be inevitable that all UEFA competitions will also be suspended, including the Champions League, Europa League and the 2020 Euros. It’s uncertain when, or if, the Euros and other competitions will be rescheduled, but according to the BBC other options include playing the tournament with the teams that already qualified or to allow nations yet to qualify in time slots before the Euros begin.
If there’s any one person in the world of soccer who has gained my upmost respect about the pandemic, it’s Liverpool’s Jurgen Klöpp. While I’m certain there are other coaches in the Premier League who have voiced their thoughts and concerns about COVID-19, Klöpp has been the only one (to my awareness) to have dug into reporters for asking questions about the coronavirus. Reason being, he simply doesn’t want to be asked questions that should be asked to medical professionals.
In a pre-game press conference, Klöpp goes off on a reporter from Spain, a country with over 3,000 cases, for traveling out of the country and asking Klöpp is he was concerned about the case.
Klopp was not happy about being asked about the coronavirus again pic.twitter.com/hbFKP5grEd
— B/R Football (@brfootball) March 10, 2020
“We should all be worried at the same time, and that’s exactly what I don’t like,” he said. “That you sit here and ask me this question but fly from Madrid to here, so stay there.”
Have a good and safe spring break, UConn nation.