The Coronavirus Epidemic Rocked European Football

The 2019/20 season of European football is in danger of being delayed. Clubs can cost hundreds of millions of euros, many major tournaments can be postponed indefinitely.

European football makers began to feel the real threat of the Covid-19 epidemic. After cases of infection at a Serie C club or from an infected former Danish player, Covid-19 began to affect top leagues such as Serie A, Premier League , Champions League or Euro.

Serie A has been suspended until April.

Italy and England were in crisis

f we are tried to lose, it can’t be helped,” Getafe president Angel Torres told AS . The Spanish club refused to fly to Milan (Italy) for the first leg of the Europa League first round on March 13.

Getafe stated that if the match venue was not changed by UEFA, they would not move to Milan. “We don’t want to go to the center. We have asked the Spanish Football Association to postpone or even cancel the match. I will not bet the player’s health,” Torres said.

Getafe’s move is just one of many problems facing UEFA because of the Covid-19 epidemic. After the Italian government decided to postpone all sports activities in the country until April, the Serie A clubs do not know where the fate of the 2019/20 season will go.

Italy Football Federation (FIGC) offers three scenarios for this year’s Serie A season, including not awarding the championship and meeting privately with clubs and UEFA about the European Cup participation, awarding titles based on the current rankings. and finally play-off kicks to win the championship and relegation when things go down.

Regardless of the solution, Italian football will have to solve many problems in the near future.

Meanwhile, in England, the 28th match between Manchester City and Arsenal, which was scheduled for March 12, was officially postponed. Arsenal’s home page confirmed that at least four of the club’s staff members on February 28 were seated close to Evangelos Marinakis, the owner of the Olympiacos club that had recently tested positive for the corona virus.

Several other Arsenal players also contacted Marinakis and had to isolate themselves 14 days at home. Mr. Marinakis is also the owner of Nottingham Forest, the club playing in the English First Division.

The Greek businessman is also known to have contacted many Nottingham Forest players in the match against Millwall in round 37 of the First Division in the UK over the weekend. The Nottingham Forest and Millwall clubs have left the players and staff isolated at home.

Earlier this week, the British Football Federation (FA) was still quite confident when interviewing about the situation of Covid-19 epidemic. “So far we have not received any notice of postponements in the near future,” FA President Greg Clarke told the Daily Mail . “I think the tournament will still take place normally”.

However, just a few hours after the news that Olympiacos boss was positive for corona virus, FA immediately postponed the match between Arsenal and Man City.

The number of UK cases is on the rise, including Deputy Health Minister Nadine Dorries. Reuters said Ms Dorries had met hundreds of people in Parliament over the past week and had attended a reception with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. According to experts, after Italy, the UK could be a new European outbreak.

By the morning of 11/3, the UK has recorded 382 cases of corona virus, 6 deaths and 18 recovery. However, the actual number of infections may be much higher.

Guardian commented that the threat of the Covid-19 epidemic to English football is getting bigger and bigger.

Mr. Evangelos Marinakis (wearing a red tie) was at the Emirates Stadium on February 21. 

UEFA headache

fter Getafe, another club to attend the Europa League, Wolves also expressed dissatisfaction with the decision for the club’s match with Olympiacos to take place normally. The English team confirmed that after the incident of President Marinakis, the match between the two teams in the round of Europa League must be postponed.

The anger of Wolves and Getafe comes from the fact that UEFA does not want to disturb any of the Champions League and Europa League plans in the near future. The matches in the next round of 16 Champions League teams are still going on normally, even in the field without the audience.

The UEFA decision was evaluated to minimize the economic losses caused by the Covid-19 epidemic. Rescheduling Champions League and Europa League matches will cost the organization millions of euros in television royalties, as well as headaches in rescheduling.

On March 10, journalist Adriano Del Monte revealed a number of member federations that asked UEFA to postpone the Euro to the summer of 2021, in the context of many European leagues possibly unable to finish on schedule. UEFA then responded that they had not received any formal offers. However, Del Monte said UEFA is considering the possibility of postponing Euro 2020.

Diagram of the effect of the Covid-19 epidemic to major European leagues (blue: normal; orange: banning the audience; red: postponement; gray: unknown).

Heavy financial losses

he BBC said a top club in Europe could lose between 2 and 5 million euros per game without an audience. After Serie A has been postponed, many matches in Ligue 1 and Bundesliga will take place in a state without an audience. In the Champions League, clubs not only lose the advantage of playing at home, but also lose big money.

PSG is a typical example. Parc des Princes is estimated to welcome 47,000 fans to watch the second leg of the Champions League round of 16 between home team and Dortmund . However, when the French government did not allow the audience to play, PSG could lose more than 3.5 million euros in tickets.

Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas predicted his club would lose an average of 2 million euros in tickets per match in Ligue 1. The total loss of Lyon’s fares by the end of the season could fall to 20 million euros.

This is a huge number for a team that is having financial problems like Lyon. European football may witness an unprecedented gloomy summer transfer.

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