English football finally saw sense on Friday and agreed to postpone all games in the top divisions as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.?
The Premier League, EFL, Women’s Super League and academy leagues as well as the FA Cup have all been ?brought to a temporary halt as part of an emergency plan to keep players as safe as possible going forward.
There’s a whole lot to wrap your head around, but here’s everything you need to know about the situation in English football.
Why Is English Football Suspended?
Many leagues around the world have been suspended? because of the coronavirus outbreak, but English football was one of the final major leagues to actually make a decision.
Officials had been keen to continue playing fixtures behind closed doors, but that was until ?Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta and ?Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi tested positive for the virus, so it was finally agreed that all football needed to be stopped.
When Will the EFL Return?
The English Football League have confirmed that matches are currently scheduled to resume on Friday 3 April?, but that obviously depends on how the virus develops over time.
When Will the Premier League Return?
While the rest of English football returns on the Friday, the ?Premier League will wait one more day and get back underway on Saturday 4 April.?
Are England’s International Fixtures Affected?
As a result, friendlies against Italy on 27 March and Denmark on 31 March will no longer take place.
What Have the Government Said?
Prime Minister Boris Johnson had stated that there was no need for football to be postponed, and so the EFL did confirm that they were set to continue, although that came before the high-profile cases of both Arteta and Hudson-Odoi.
An emergency meeting was called between league officials the morning after the pair’s diagnoses, where it was decided that the government advice needed to be ignored as players and teams across the country were no longer able to safely fulfil their fixtures.
Has the Champions League Been Cancelled?
Following the quarantine imposed on players of Juventus and Real Madrid, the following #UCL matches will not take place as scheduled.
?gbeng Manchester City – Real Madrid ??
?? Juventus – Olympique Lyonnais ??
Further decisions on the matches will be communicated in due course.
— UEFA (@UEFA) March 12, 2020
At the minute, a definitive decision over the future of the ?Champions League and Europa League has not been made.
The games which had been scheduled for between 17-19 March have been postponed, and UEFA are set to meet in the coming days to discuss further action, which could also see Euro 2020 pushed back one year.
When Will the Postponed League Fixtures Be Played?
This is the real conundrum. It’s hard enough rescheduling fixtures in a normal season, so having to find time to play three weeks’ worth of games is a real nightmare.
The current aim is to reschedule the fixtures, rather than cancel them completely, but when they will do that is currently unknown. It has been suggested that the league could bleed over into the summer, but obviously that depends on Euro 2020.
What Will Happen to the Premier League Title?
It’s almost certainly just a matter of time before ?Liverpool get their hands on the league title. They had been two wins away from glory, but now they could be just one.
If the league restarts as planned on 4 April, and fixtures are kept the same, then Jürgen Klopp’s side could actually win the title one day later at the Etihad Stadium if they can beat ?Manchester City.?
What About the Transfer Window & Expiring Contracts?
As with every season, some players’ contracts will expire on 30 June and others have already agreed to move clubs on 1 July. That’s totally normal, but the problem is that the season might not actually be completed by then.
After speaking to agents, ?football.london note that ?it will be nearly impossible to stop players leaving or joining if contracts dictate they must, so deals like Hakim Ziyech’s imminent move to Chelsea will still go through.
Emergency changes to the transfer window could be made, but nothing has been confirmed just yet.
For more from Tom Gott, follow him on Twitter!