COVID-19 and Its Effects on the World of Football

Lucas Pari, Sports Editor

DISCLAIMER: When I say “football,” I am referring to what Americans call “soccer”.

Over the last few weeks, our country has felt the impact of the world’s newest pandemic, COVID-19–the coronavirus. The common worker has been sent to work at home, while restaurants and nightclubs, movie theaters and bowling alleys, offices and schools have all been shut down as a result of the coronavirus. Sports have been heavily impacted as well, with the NBA becoming the first major sports league in the U.S. to suspend their season. The NHL, MLS, and MLB all followed suit, and suspended their seasons. However, COVID-19 has had the largest impact on the world of football, particularly in Europe. Italy’s Serie A was the first league to announce that they would be suspending their season. La Liga in Spain, Ligue 1 in France, the Bundesliga in Germany, and the Premier League in England soon did so as well after playing a few games behind closed doors. The Champions League and Europa League later suspended their tournament.

In recent weeks, many players have tested positive for the coronavirus. Argentine internationals, Juventus midfielder Paulo Dybala and Valencia defender Ezequiel Garay both tested positive this month. Fellow Juventus midfielder Daniele Rugani was one of the first to test positive. Former Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellani then tested positive, and was the first player from the Chinese Football League to do so. Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi became the first Premier League player to test positive for the virus. Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta talso ested positive on March 12.

International football has also been postponed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The 2020 Copa America tournament was scheduled to be played in Argentina and Colombia this June and July has been moved to 2021. The 2020 Euros Tournament was also due to take place in June and July as well, with Portugal to defend their title as International Champions of Europe. However, the Euros were also postponed, and will now also take place in 2021. As for the leagues in Europe, the President of La Liga and the Premier League have both spoken adamantly about their intent to finish the season, even if it means playing into summer. The President of UEFA also stated that they intend to finish the Champions League and Europa League tournaments. It is entirely possible that we may see the leagues finish their seasons during the summer, which may affect the summer transfer window. Many players are reaching the ends of their contracts with their current teams, and others are finishing out their loans to other clubs. Players like Philippe Coutinho, who is due to return to Barcelona after his loan to Bayern Munich, and Mauro Icardi, who was due to return to Inter Milan after his loan to Paris Saint-Germain, are among those in this group. It is unknown what will happen to those players and whether or not they will return to their clubs during the summer.

It has not been confirmed how the season will wrap up. The effects of COVID-19 are definitely being felt by the European football leagues and players. In the meantime, the rest of the world must wait to see what happens, but I speak for football fans worldwide in wishing all those affected by the coronavirus good luck and my best wishes.