After a dramatic last couple days, the Premier League have officially suspended the season, at least temporarily, due to the COVID-19 coronavirus, which was officially declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization this week.
While there is no official date at which point matches might resume, the expected date the league’s shooting for at this stage is the weekend of April 4-5, which previously would’ve been the end of the March international break. That break will now instead last twice as long as usual, and of course feature no football.
At that time, the situation will be re-examined, and a determination will be made on how to proceed.
In addition to the Premier League, all EFL competitions, all versions of FA Cups, the women’s game, and all levels of youth football have been postponed as well. Basically, no football for a while.
The Premier League (as well as the three lower professional leagues of the English football pyramid) had been the last major sporting leagues to be holding out against the spread of the novel coronavirus, but after two confirmed cases yesterday (Callum Hudson-Odoi and Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta) and at least two teams in complete self-isolation (Chelsea and Arsenal), they were left with little choice than to make the common sense choice and follow the likes of Serie A, La Liga, the NBA, the NCAA, the NHL, MLS, etc, etc.
While the spread of the virus has not been as wide-ranging in England (yet?) as in some other European countries, most notably Italy, this decision is surely a most reasonable course of action. The vast majority of the population will recover and many won’t be affected at all, but such preventative measures help control the rate of infection, reduce the strain on health services and associated logistics, and shield those who are especially vulnerable to it, namely the elderly and those with underlying health conditions.
You may have seen this graphic, or ones similar to it, make their way around (social) media in recent days: it’s all about flattening the curve.
This remains a fluid and continually evolving situation, with many details still changing or yet to even be decided. Exactly how the league might handle a truncated (9 of 38 games still left), delayed, or altogether canceled (still unlikely at this point) season remains to be seen. An English top flight season has not been canceled since World War II.
Privately, officials admit very little chance of football resuming as early as Apr 4th so further extension then seems almost certain, unless season is abandoned, but review looks set to happen then if Prem League agree with EFL— Dan Roan (@danroan) March 13, 2020
But these are novel times indeed, for all.
Social distancing, now not just for the Internet!
It’s gonna be a weird one. Stay safe, everyone.
general coronavirus thought: don't panic, don't be scared, but do be aware of the threat to you/your loved ones/your community. your life could get kind of weird for a while; prepare— Graham MacAree (@MacAree) March 12, 2020