01/03/2020 by Peter Halpin 0 Comments
Covid - All of a sudden
All of a sudden, in the course of 72 hours or so, what had been a steady stream — a postponement here, a ban on fans there, a piecemeal response to an all-consuming crisis — transformed into a flood.Italy suspended the Serie A season. Spain did the same with La Liga. On Thursday, a host of leagues across Europe followed suit including the Airtricity League of Ireland.
On Friday morning the Premier League — finally — decided to diverge from the stance of the British government and announce a hiatus, too. The SPFL and the Irish League followed suit.
Its hand had been forced not just by the need to avoid helping spread Covid-19, but by the mounting number of cases within the game. This week, first Juventus, then Inter Milan, had gone into quarantine. Daniele Rugani, the Juventus defender, tested positive. A case was suspected on Real Madrid’s basketball team; the club responded by suspending all sporting activity.
Then it was Benjamin Mendy, of Manchester City, going into self-isolation; then it was Mikel Arteta, the Arsenal manager, and the Chelsea forward Callum Hudson-Odoi testing positive; then it was Leicester, Bournemouth and Watford fearing that its players and staff members had been exposed to the virus.
Football has held out for as long as it could, for far longer than it should. It was only, really, over those 72 hours — once teams were in quarantine and players were ill — that it realized it could not muddle on through. It could not carry on as normal.
Scary times indeed.