Emergency Premier League meeting planned after Arteta tests positive for coronavirus

Thursday, 12 March, 2020 105comments  |  Jump to last

Whether or not this weekend's programme of fixtures in the Premier League and English Football League should now go ahead as planned will be discussed at an emergency meeting tomorrow morning.

The news comes in the wake of Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta testing positive for COVID-19 and less than an hour after the release of a statement by the League that all matches were scheduled to go ahead this weekend without restrictions on attendance.

It had been believed that the Government's move from the "contain" phase to "delay" in their response to the novel coronavirus outbreak would entail restrictions on sporting events and mandates that matches be played behind closed doors but they have held off on taking that step for now.

A statement from the League said:

“All Premier League matches will go ahead as scheduled this weekend. While the Prime Minister advised that all sporting events should take place as normal for now, he also indicated that Government is considering banning major public events, like sporting fixtures.

“We are therefore continuing to work closely with our clubs, Government, The FA, EFL and other relevant stakeholders to ensure appropriate contingency plans are in place as and when circumstances change. The welfare of players, staff and supporters is of paramount importance and we will continue to follow Public Health England guidelines thoroughly. We will keep everyone updated as appropriate.”

The move means that the Premier League currently stands in rare company among the world's top sporting organisations in not either suspending the season or at least requiring that matches be played behind closed doors.

Games in the Bundesliga and Ligue 1 are on weekend but will be played without fans; other leagues like in in Spain, Portugal and the Netherlands have been suspended.

Meanwhile, Uefa heads and stakeholders will meet via videoconference on Tuesday discuss European football's response to the pandemic and the possibility of postponing the European Championships until 2021.

The Premier League's statement comes in the wake of news that three Leicester City players have been tested for COVID-19 after either exhibiting symptoms indicative of the virus while Bernard Mendy of Manchester City is in self-isolation after coming into contact with someone who has tested positive.

Arsenal's squad was already in isolation following contact between some personnel with Olympiakos's owner Evangelos Marinakis who contracted the virus.

The Gunners' match against Brighton and Hove Albion this weekend has been postponed and the expectation is that the rest of the schedule will also be called off.  

Reader Comments (105)

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Dan Murphy
1 Posted 12/03/2020 at 22:15:37
Klippity's tantrum, when the season is called off and they end up with nowt, should be priceless.
Dennis Stevens
2 Posted 12/03/2020 at 22:29:45
I really hope we twat the buggers on Monday night & then the season is cancelled, leaving them empty handed, again!
Mike Jones
3 Posted 12/03/2020 at 22:30:36
Arteta just been confirmed as having the coronavirus. Given its incubation period, it's feasible some of our team and staff may have come into contact with him whilst he was infected.
James Stewart
4 Posted 12/03/2020 at 22:40:16
Total stupidity, once again, from the Premier League.
Mike Gaynes
5 Posted 12/03/2020 at 22:40:53
Amazing that they've decided to go forward. Quite a contrast with what's happening here in the US, as every league in every sport, pro and college, has been shut down today.
Patrick McFarlane
6 Posted 12/03/2020 at 22:43:14
BBC Reporting

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has tested positive for coronavirus.

The Gunners have closed their training ground and club staff who had recent contact with Arteta will now self-isolate.

The Premier League will hold "an emergency club meeting" on Friday to discuss future fixtures.

"This is really disappointing but I took the test after feeling poorly," said Spaniard Arteta, 37. "I will be at work as soon as I'm allowed."
Arsenal expects a "significant number of people" will self-isolate, including first-team staff and coaches.

"The health of our people and the wider public is our priority and that is where our focus is," said club managing director Vinai Venkatesham.

"We are in active dialogue with all the relevant people to manage this situation appropriately, and we look forward to getting back to training and playing as soon as medical advice allows."

Gavin Johnson
7 Posted 12/03/2020 at 22:46:12
Absolutely astounded. Putting money and advertising before lives.
Danny Baily
8 Posted 12/03/2020 at 22:54:48
Here's hoping for a speedy recovery for the best little Spaniard we know.

I think it's safe to assume that the season is over.

Si Pulford
9 Posted 12/03/2020 at 23:00:19
It's a tough one. After watching Man Utd tonight, you can't play games behind closed doors. That was just odd.

So what do you do? Suspend the league? Cancel the league? If they cancel (which is being considered in Spain), would that be the right thing to do?

Liverpool are romping home but there's the relegation spots to sort out which are arguably more important to the teams involved. How many of them have to play Liverpool? If it's cancelled now would a team with a tough run-in survive by default?

If they suspend, there's a knock-on for about five years. So god knows what to do.

Would be incredibly harsh on Liverpool. But would just about balance out the last 30 years of spawn. #Karma

David Pearl
10 Posted 12/03/2020 at 23:02:39
I was thinking about writing about me having enough of the 4-4-flu, we continue to play with a squad built for 4-2-3-1. I want to talk football.

Anyway, yeah it looks increasingly likely that this season and the euros are to be cancelled. It's getting worse not better.

Gavin Johnson
11 Posted 12/03/2020 at 23:03:13
Well, that changes everything. Now players and staff are getting ill, there has to be a suspension or at least games behind closed doors, surely?!
Kieran Kinsella
12 Posted 12/03/2020 at 23:10:34
Logically you suspend it for a few weeks, see what happens and it can resume. Then deal with the blowback when Leeds sue if they're denied promotion or Norwich sue if they're relegated. You can't just press on with empty stadiums and reduced squads missing players due to quarantine.

The more they try to drag it on, the more it's going to turn fans off. I imagine there's some kind of rule as to what happens in this situation. He'll have a vote like they do in college football and let the AP decide if Liverpool win and who finishes where else.

Mike Connolly
13 Posted 12/03/2020 at 23:21:49
Shut the league down and start afresh next season. And the teams who are in the top 6 places, let them have the play-offs in the Screen Sports Super Cup. It seemed to work in 1985.
Bill Gall
14 Posted 12/03/2020 at 23:25:06
They should shut the league down and consider that all clubs in their league positions be assessed as the end of the season. I don't think that you can just cancel the leagues, there is more than just the Premier League to consider.

Whatever happens, there are going to be some clubs happy and others mad, you can't please them all.

Eric Myles
15 Posted 12/03/2020 at 23:27:29
They won't cancel the league until their darlings have been confirmed as Champions.
Mike Connolly
16 Posted 12/03/2020 at 23:28:17
You are right, Bill. I've been mad since 1985.
Michael Lynch
17 Posted 12/03/2020 at 23:33:01
It's a mad one, is all I can say.

And the media need to tone it down a bit. Sure, it's very serious and we all need to be aware of it and do what we can to protect each other, but it's not fucking Shaun of The Dead.

Colin Glassar
18 Posted 12/03/2020 at 23:46:42
All I can say is, thank god for Netflix!!
Kieran Kinsella
19 Posted 12/03/2020 at 23:49:13
Michael @17,

Lol, it sure feels like Shaun of the Dead and the county I'm in has only had four cases. I have a tendency to embrace gallows humor so I'm not giving you an 'lol' to dismiss the crisis but just because I'm a fatalistic Murphy's Law type.

I spoke to an ER nurse today who said it's all hype, but also to a lung surgeon who told me it's far worse than we realize and will get much worse. The only comparable thing I've lived through was 9/11 when the US was paralyzed for a few weeks and everyone was fearful.

I hope it will eventually be something we reflect as over-hyped but a lot of folks in Wuhan, Italy and elsewhere seem to indicate that will not be the case.

Andy Crooks
20 Posted 13/03/2020 at 00:12:19
I really think the Premier League season is over. Kieran, you make a good point. So many different viewpoints. Within 100 yards of the border in Ireland, schools are closed. Someone has got this badly wrong. Is Monaghan safer than Armagh?

I will be astonished and appalled if football continues.

Mike Gaynes
21 Posted 13/03/2020 at 00:14:28
The season's gotta be over.

You don't call an "emergency meeting" when you're planning on the status quo.

The NBA shut down when the first player tested positive. The Premier League now has a manager and perhaps three, perhaps six players with the virus. The league has no choice now.

I'm gonna be doing a lot of reading this spring.

Kieran Kinsella
22 Posted 13/03/2020 at 00:19:12
Marco Silva must be kicking himself now. Sacked during the season that wasn’t.
George Stuart
23 Posted 13/03/2020 at 00:31:05
You've got it all wrong. They have yet to mention canceling the Premier League but they are contemplating canceling the Champions League.

Who just got knocked out? Start again next season with all the same starters as this season.

Kieran Kinsella
24 Posted 13/03/2020 at 00:53:18
George

In fairness to the RS, if they cancel the Premier League, they should give them the title. Yeah, I hate them, but I love the sport more than I hate them.

Derek Thomas
25 Posted 13/03/2020 at 00:57:04
This will get worse before it gets better. Take the hit shut it all down, including the Euros... and probably The Olympics too.

Start again next season. No winners, no losers, no promotions, no relegations, no champions (the law of unintended consequences works in our favour for once) same teams, in the same divisions and issue a new set of fixtures in late June or when ever.

Also next season, no Champions League, no Europa League – firstly because, nobody actually qualified and mostly to stop travellers re-infecting.

Desperate-ish times (and they will become desperate-ish) call for desperate-ish measures. No half arsed measures. Better too much than not enough.

Yes there will be a cost, Clubs will lose money. The players who've been on £80,000 a week for the last how many years can take the hit on this.

As the old highwayman on his horse used to say – your money or your life... or as Dirty Harry used to say – Do ya feel lucky, well, do ya?

But this isn't Dick Turpin on Black Bess, rather another mythical(?) figure on a Pale Horse.

On a lighter note, TV an Netflix etc have been getting it all wrong – not once in any episode have I seen survivors of the Zombie Apocalypse carrying a 20-pack of toilet roll.

Steve Brown
26 Posted 13/03/2020 at 01:04:05
The way things are going, toilet paper will become the new legal tender.
Julian Wait
27 Posted 13/03/2020 at 01:04:18
#24 I'm with Kieran. The last thing we need to do is make martyrs of the RS. I'd rather they win it in an anticlimactic way and rain on the parade they can't have. ;-)
Gavin Johnson
28 Posted 13/03/2020 at 01:22:41
Kieran and Julian, you're both too charitable. I think it would be hilarious if this season had to be writen off and the RS wouldn't be awarded the title. You'd never hear the end of their crying.

In all seriousness, if games have to be cancelled and we're looking at this running into months rather than weeks, I think the FA will have to decide an outcome where no-one wins titles and promotions or gets relegated.

Patrick McFarlane
29 Posted 13/03/2020 at 01:43:18
Perhaps they could carry forward this season's points to next season. For games which should have been completed by this point, eg, Man City vs Arsenal, make that double points for the same fixture next season. The other lot would have the advantage that they have now and the rest could try and catch them.

This method could also apply to the other major leagues too. Share this season's prize and TV money out equally to the 20 clubs and next season's on final placings.

Mark Andersson
30 Posted 13/03/2020 at 02:13:19
Surely it's easier to just end the season now. Those in the bottom 3... tough titty, you're relegated. Those at the top get the silverware and the European places.

Everton finish where they always finish: mid-table.

John Boon
31 Posted 13/03/2020 at 02:32:20
Tonight I was due to fly from Canada to Liverpool with my son John and my son-in-law, Dan. It was an expensive gift that I booked last July. We were looking forward to seeing the derby and Everton's chance to make a large dint in the RS armour. Despite everything, we were forced to make a last-day cancellation. My son would have celebrated his 50th birthday at Goodison as well as a win.

Unfortinately the uncertainty of the game being played to a crowd forced us to rethink everything. They would both have to get back to work on time and, at 80, I was in the high-risk group. It also seemed senseless to pay so much to watch the game on TV. Fortunately, the airline has agreed to put all fares to one side provided that we use them before the end of the year.

I had really looked forward to meeting John McFarlane and possibly some other ToffeeWebbers but it is not to be. Now, once this virus has subsided, we will still be coming in August to watch an early-season game when Everton will smash whoever they play and the three amigos will still be able to cheer them on. I am the eternal optimist.

In reality, Everton have had a virus for the last four years at least. But I think I could be the Magi on a Blue horse ushering in at least 10 years of glory.

Adam Fenlon
32 Posted 13/03/2020 at 02:51:07
Putting the redshite to one side, I really hope that they find a way to complete the season (closed doors or otherwise) so at least we have something to take our minds off the virus if and when we're all confined in our homes.
Kieran Kinsella
33 Posted 13/03/2020 at 03:06:07
John Boon 31

Sorry to hear about your trip but it's probably for the best all things considered.

Hudson Udoi has coronavirus now too. Surely a postponement or cancellation is on the way?

Patrick 29, I agree with some such resolution. Mark 30, I dunno, we've seen great escapes before so who's to say Norwich can't turn it around?

Gavin 28,

I know the RS wouldn't feel the same way if roles were reversed but I'm trying to be the better person here. In theory, they could win it this weekend. Seems a bit wankerish to debt them.

Eric Myles
34 Posted 13/03/2020 at 03:35:48
The government has announced that it will NOT ban major sporting events despite every weekend more than 2 million spectators will be put at risk.

Incredible!!

Ed Prytherch
35 Posted 13/03/2020 at 03:44:46
I believe that the sports cancellations in the US are mainly due to the fear of litigation. Too many lawyers here looking for a fast $10 million.

The total number of deaths from the virus in the US is fewer than the number who die in automobile accidents every day.

Derek Thomas
36 Posted 13/03/2020 at 03:45:49
Hopefully it will not be as bad as it could get and stopping all gatherings might be seen as a slight but necessary over reaction in hindsight.

This will place the rs along side Esha Ness in a trivia quiz (best place for them) as the answer to the question...in 'the season that never was' who was top of the league.

Personally, I don't want another person to get sick, but from a football perspective I wouldn't give them the steam off my s... erm, soup.

Alan J Thompson
37 Posted 13/03/2020 at 04:12:48
This season must at least be postponed and, if the situation keeps getting worse, then it should be abandoned. Now we will see if they really are fully paid up members of Fifa.
Andrew Heffernan
38 Posted 13/03/2020 at 05:21:57
Declare them Champions and then season null and void. Only fair and deals with relegation issues, which is a legal minefield.
Simon Hermansen
39 Posted 13/03/2020 at 05:22:36
Too many teams, Everton included, have been in contact with each other so I'm sure no drastic action is being planned. Either you play behind closed doors with the players and staff that are available or you delay until it passes over.

One idea I've had is to play out this season when it passes (probably the summer) and delay the start of next season. To accommodate this, just cancel all next season's domestic and European competitions.

Steve Shave
40 Posted 13/03/2020 at 06:28:04
Well, this is all rather interesting, isn't it? Firstly, get well soon Mikel! (I still drink my coffee from my Arteta Everton mug).

I manage a service in the NHS and I can tell you this is all causing me a right headache. I woke up at 4am thinking about it! I'm stressed but cannot shake the rather delicious thought of just how much this ruins Liverpool's big season, it's bloody marvellous isn't it?

I don't come from Liverpool, I don't live in Liverpool but, my word, would I be feasting out on all this with RS fans if I did! They are increasingly unlikely to be able to celebrate winning it in front of their fans; they are increasingly unlikely to be able to lift the trophy in front of their fans too.

There is even a small (probably faint) hope that the whole damn season could just be curtailed, you have to laugh. Screw you redshite fans and your smug, VAR and Sky Sports supported club. I really hope this ruins the whole experience for you. (I'm not bitter at all am I!) You have so much material, fellas, get stuck in – fill yer boots.

Steve Shave
42 Posted 13/03/2020 at 06:51:10
John Boon (31), I'm really sorry to hear that. I hope you and your family are able to make the most of the occasion regardless. All the best.
Jim Bennings
44 Posted 13/03/2020 at 07:18:36
If the season is cancelled, then clubs need to find a way to reimburse season tickets holders surely?

It will change everything. Let's be honest: nobody will want to commit to buying season tickets next season, especially if we don't get some reimbursement?

So many things like that even need consideration.

Phil Sammon
46 Posted 13/03/2020 at 07:29:39
Jim @44,

Wouldn't it be great if the players contributed. If all Premier League players forfeited 50% of everything they earned above £20k per week, think of the difference that it could make.

I'd say I'm normally a pretty cold capitalist... but, in these circumstances, I think extremely wealthy individuals need to step up and help the needy. If not by choice, then by force.

Ray Robinson
47 Posted 13/03/2020 at 07:41:46
Mark #30,

"Tough titty" indeed on Villa who have played a game less than the others. Totally unfair.

I remember in the past both Coventry and Fulham gaining maximum points from their last three games. Can't happen.

Jim Bennings
48 Posted 13/03/2020 at 07:47:13
Phil

I agree!

I think football is finally realising now that it’s taken the fans for granted for too long, now the prospect of no fans, or even postponed matches terrifies them.

Many things will need to be taken into consideration over the coming weeks, as I say for a start, the business side football, the early season ticket renewals ect, all that must surely change?

How will fans be able to commit to anything next season when we may face a similar outbreak in the winter where the league is cancelled again or postponed?

Kim Vivian
49 Posted 13/03/2020 at 08:08:08
Could be a busy few weeks for the pools panel!

It will never happen but it would be interesting to see how they predicted it.

Derek Thomas
50 Posted 13/03/2020 at 08:21:49
According to an ITK, it's going to peak here in Australia in June, all done by December. The word is, if you're going to get it, get it, get it early while they can cope.

They've banned gatherings of 500+ but from Monday, so everybody can go to the pubs and on to the various games over the weekend – madness.

One of the supermarkets has started rationing what they see as 'essential items' to 2 per person.

Eric Myles
51 Posted 13/03/2020 at 08:26:50
Jim #44 & #48. The season ticket conundrum is easy to work out, you give credit for the unplayed games to next season's renewals.
Eric Myles
52 Posted 13/03/2020 at 08:28:55
Jim #48, I don't think it's the fans they're thinking of, more like their sponsorship deals and the money they'll lose or have to pay back.
Eddie Dunn
53 Posted 13/03/2020 at 08:35:54
Klopp and Liverpool were desperate (along with our football hierarchy, and the TV media) to make the most of the legendary "Anfield factor" and overcome Atletico. They were so keen for the game to go on, they even let 3,000 people from a high infection area of Spain to attend the game.

An example where the interests of the club, the TV companies and sponsors were put before public health considerations. I am so glad the whole thing backfired on them.

Watching the aftermatch BT coverage, it was pathetic witnessing the likes of Owen and Crouch looking for positives and Owen seemed unable to take it all in. Perhaps he had lost a lot of money on the outcome.Superb was the deadpan Rio Ferdinand, who I am sure was delighted at the result.

As for Lineker, he spoke in hushed tones, as if he had witnessed the last moments of a close relative. His faux concern was over-egged and simply embarrassing. Did he really feel like that? Did he not realise that, despite the millions of gold-digging reds fans watching, there were twice as many people laughing their heads off at the whole farce?

If that game had been played behind closed doors, the Reds would have won. They didn't consider the "Simeone" factor. Klopp was, for once, not the biggest star in the technical area.

Michael Lynch
54 Posted 13/03/2020 at 08:56:48
Interesting that Hudson Odoi says he had the symptoms of a mild cold on Monday, stayed away from the club and then tested positive and has now recovered. Obviously, he's young and super-fit but – for most people – even if you catch the virus, it's not going to be a big deal.

Obviously, everyone needs to be sensible and lock down if they're ill but, when I spoke to one of my daughters yesterday (same sort of age as Hudson-Odoi), she was terrified, really freaked by all the media Zombie Apocalypse stuff, and anxious about her future.

We need to settle down a bit and stop the nightmarish reporting of this – the media and the government. How does it help anyone when Boris talks about many families losing loved ones? It may be true, but why say it? Families lose loved ones all the time, death is always with us, but we can't live our entire lives in fear of our mortality.

And it's not just our loved ones who are getting freaked about, look at the markets. I've watched the value of my pension funds go down by about a third, kicking all my plans for retirement back by years. Anyone with a personal pension has lost tens if not hundreds of thousands of pounds over the last two weeks because the markets are so spooked. Calm the fuck down.

Derek Knox
55 Posted 13/03/2020 at 08:57:10
John Boon @31, I was looking forward to meeting you on Tuesday but, in view of the current situation, I fully understand why you have postponed it.

I was thinking of you and your family the other day, speculating how disappointing it would have been to make the journey and incur the expenses involved only to discover the game had been called off.

Still, hopefully when all this has cleared up, I will get to meet you later in the year. All the very best wishes to you and your family.

Si Pulford
56 Posted 13/03/2020 at 09:06:31
All Everton staff have been sent home this morning. From all sites.
Kevin Prytherch
57 Posted 13/03/2020 at 09:13:17
I have a feeling that they will postpone the league for a month, then postpone the Euros until next year. That then leaves the summer free for the leagues to catch up. We might see the Premier League finishing in mid June.
Dave Abrahams
58 Posted 13/03/2020 at 09:13:47
I was told last night that the derby game would be played behind closed doors, came indirectly from an Everton player. Even that will change very shortly in my opinion, the season will be suspended very shortly; I don't know how long for.

I've made my own decision. I won't be going, whatever way it turns out, because I'm COPD and elderly. More importantly, so is my wife... so that's that for now.

Liverpool won the title weeks ago and morally it is theirs; if anyone dislikes that team more than me, I'd be surprised... but would understand their dislike totally. Give them the fuckin' trophy.

Sam Hoare
59 Posted 13/03/2020 at 09:15:28
Strange times.

Cancelling the league would be a minefield of epic proportions, mainly in terms of who would be promoted and relegated. Would everything be done on current points/positions? Or calculated points somehow? Or just start the whole season again next year?!

One imagines that they will just try and delay the whole thing; which may be especially possible if they cancel the Euros.

Si Pulford
60 Posted 13/03/2020 at 09:17:06
Dave, you can't play a game behind closed doors if all the staff have been sent home. They need players, staff, medical staff etc. Everyone has been sent home.
Rob Halligan
61 Posted 13/03/2020 at 09:17:23
Cancel the whole league. Fuck the Red Shite and their vile rats who proclaim to be the best fans in the world.

In 1985, they were cheering the team they are alleged to detest the most, in the FA Cup Final against us.

Twelve months after the Heysel tragedy, they were unfurling a banner with Steaua Bucharest on it, a sick reminder towards us about being banned, as they know full well we'd have won it.

In 1997, they were planning a "funeral march" had we been relegated, with mock coffins prepared.

The RS in my local have been unbearable. The second you walk in, they start talking between themselves, although I know full well they are directing their conversation towards me. Other Blues have said the same.

This coronavirus is a serious matter; to reduce further deaths, all sporting events must be shut down completely. I don't agree with anyone who says give them the Premier League title, while it's still mathematically possible for them to be caught. All hotels in Liverpool are fully booked up for their victory parade, which no doubt will be cancelled. GOOD!! If they do manage to cross the finishing line, just pretend it never happened.

Welcome home, Mr Karma!

Michael Lynch
62 Posted 13/03/2020 at 09:18:45
Dave - agreed, give them the trophy. Of course, it won't be the same, and we'll rip the piss out of them for years to come for not having really "won" it, but that's what football is all about isn't it? Tribal rivalry.

I'm not going to the derby either, come what may. A mixture of not wanting to be in a big crowd or on a packed train, and not wanting to see that lot winning the title at Goodison.

Dave Abrahams
63 Posted 13/03/2020 at 09:21:45
Si (60), yes I understand that and actually said that would happen in my first paragraph. Thanks for your response, I hope we are all okay at the end of this epidemic.
Dan Nulty
64 Posted 13/03/2020 at 09:23:01
Honestly, there will be talk of a curse from an Everton supporting gypsy who pissed in every corner of Anfield and swore Liverpool would never win the Premier League.

It would be hilarious but I know how gutted I would be if it was us in that position and they thoroughly deserve it for how far ahead they are and the football they were playing before Christmas.

George McKane
65 Posted 13/03/2020 at 09:31:59
Just announced here, officially: the whole of Everton FC – that is everything – closed down and in self-isolation. News and comments to follow, I guess.

This is genuine – just listening to the radio.

John G Davies
66 Posted 13/03/2020 at 09:33:08
Rob,

Beautiful summation of all things red.

I don't drink as much as I used to. If the Premier League is cancelled, I'm on the ale and not stopping until I hit the Priory.

Jim Bennings
67 Posted 13/03/2020 at 09:33:13
Everton squad sent home after player shows symptoms.

The game isn’t off on Monday.

Michael O'Malley
68 Posted 13/03/2020 at 09:38:24
If the season is cancelled, Leeds will be devastated as it looks like this is the year they finally make it. But the public's health must come first and they won't be the only club hit hard.
Ray Smith
69 Posted 13/03/2020 at 09:38:34
Dave @58,

I'm COPD and getting on as well. I won't be going even if the game is on. Hopefully I can watch it on Sky.

Lungs operating at 23.5% at annual test last week, so no way I'll be going.

Rennie Smith
70 Posted 13/03/2020 at 09:38:45
I can't see how they can cancel the league, it would be bloody funny though.

Suspending it for a few weeks isn't going to work because the government measures are trying to push the peak back, so we'll be probably in a worse position at that time. The worst thing they can do is play behind closed doors, but they can't do that because the staff will be in isolation and clubs would fold with zero revenue.

For once, I feel a bit sorry for them because it's an impossible situation. Whatever they do they'll get stick for it, whether it's the Sky mob or the fans.

Derek Knox
71 Posted 13/03/2020 at 09:38:59
Thanks, George, for the update. As long as they don't shut TW down, things will take their 'natural course' — however natural this virus is found out to be!
Rob Halligan
72 Posted 13/03/2020 at 09:43:27
According to SSN, the entire Everton squad is in self-isolation. I thought this had to last a minimum 14 days, in which case, the game on Monday will definitely be off.
Tony Everan
73 Posted 13/03/2020 at 09:50:26
They are saying the derby is about to be called off.

Sam 59, It is unreal but it may be the fairest way to cancel the whole season, like it never existed, and start again at the end of August.

James Hughes
74 Posted 13/03/2020 at 09:52:19
Rob, the new guidelines are a minimum 7 days of self-isolation, so you're right: the game will be off.
Michael Lynch
75 Posted 13/03/2020 at 09:53:16
I can't see any way the leagues will be played to a conclusion now, there simply isn't the time to rearrange all the games, even if clubs just isolate for two weeks. Plus, as others have said, there will probably be much stronger general restrictions in place in a couple of weeks.

Look, I know it was before Sky invented football, but the leagues shut down for years during the world wars, so this is no biggie really in that context. The Shite will get over it, as will Leeds, it will just enter into their folklore.

James Carlisle
76 Posted 13/03/2020 at 10:00:33
Wonder which player's showing symptoms?

I can say with absolute certainty that Pickford hasn't caught it.

Scott Hall
77 Posted 13/03/2020 at 10:03:26
Got to be Gylfi. He's been in self-isolation since August.
Jimmy Hogan
78 Posted 13/03/2020 at 10:05:05
Watford's Nigel Pearson has been speaking sense this morning:

"We have to be mindful that this problem, this worldwide problem is not going to go away, it's going to run its course, it's not something we can stop and, we, in the football industry, have a responsibility to ourselves and each other that the wellbeing of everybody concerned is taken care. I think what's important first and foremost is to deal with the wellbeing of people involved in the industry. We have to be decisive with how the problem, the situation, is dealt with.”

Showing Kilipperty that it is possible for a football manager to have an opinion on the coronavirus.

Derek Knox
79 Posted 13/03/2020 at 10:05:34
James @76, against Chelsea, they were all suffering from something. We as fans were suffering too, watching them. :-)
Kevin Jones
80 Posted 13/03/2020 at 10:05:51
Don't know if anybody else has suggested this, but just as an idea. Cancel all football now, then next season all teams carry over their points from this season, play out a full season so basically it's a near 2-year league.
Brian Williams
81 Posted 13/03/2020 at 10:10:35
Everton in self-isolation. Game won't be played now.
Arild Andersen
82 Posted 13/03/2020 at 10:13:55
The Bundesliga will probably be cancelled. No title, no relegation, but the best teams in 2.Bundesliga are promoted and next season played with more teams.

Could happen with the Premier League as well, no relegation, Leeds and WBA up, classic 22-team season in 2020-21, everybody happy... oh, wait!

Michael Lynch
83 Posted 13/03/2020 at 10:15:38
Problem with that, Kevin, is the Shite are so far ahead that they won't be caught even if we play til May 2021, so the entire Premier League season 20-21 would be a foregone conclusion before it even starts.

No, much better to award the RS the title, but only give them a plastic replica of the trophy because they haven't actually won it. Or a certificate maybe instead of medals.

Danny Baily
84 Posted 13/03/2020 at 10:21:33
Let's hope the lads and everyone at the club are alright. This has moved frighteningly fast.
Michael Lynch
85 Posted 13/03/2020 at 10:21:49
Europa League and Champions League suspended. Of course that means the Shite might remain champions for another year, despite being knocked out, and therefore might actual "win" the double if they're awarded the Premier League by default!

Only they could be that lucky!

Jimmy Hogan
86 Posted 13/03/2020 at 10:21:58
Michael #83, maybe luncheon vouchers?
Sam Hoare
87 Posted 13/03/2020 at 10:22:34
Heard a rumour it's Theo Walcott who has symptoms; sure he'll be absolutely fine.

The derby will be off surely.

Arild @82 – is that officially what the Bundesliga are doing? Interesting.

Steve Brown
88 Posted 13/03/2020 at 10:26:29
Sigurdsson has been self-isolating since the start of the season.
Tony Everan
89 Posted 13/03/2020 at 10:28:28
Kevin #80, Creative idea, but it would be better for us to start again from scratch.

[In theory]

Jay Wood
[BRZ]

90 Posted 13/03/2020 at 10:29:04
The Premier League suspend the Premier League until April 4. Official.
Jim Bennings
91 Posted 13/03/2020 at 10:35:16
Fat lot of good April 4th is.

We don’t play again til’ 6th anyway, so it doesn’t affect us but the situation won’t be much different will it?

Brian Williams
92 Posted 13/03/2020 at 10:37:41
Jeez, Jay that's quick. Where'd you hear that as the meeting didn't start til half-ten? Lol.

Unconfirmed, according to that paragon of radio, Jim White.

Arild Andersen
93 Posted 13/03/2020 at 10:38:01
@Sam 87, it was presented as one possible solution, but now it looks like minds have changed and that all this weekend's matches will go behind closed doors.

But seriously, although it would have been sort of fun if the Premier League had been cancelled, I must admit – a bit reluctantly – that Liverpool deserve the title this season. They have been the best team by far.

Brian Williams
94 Posted 13/03/2020 at 10:39:46
Arild. There'll be no games behind closed doors or otherwise this weekend I think.
Arild Andersen
95 Posted 13/03/2020 at 10:40:59
@Michael 85 – it was suspended after they were knocked out, must count for something?
Rob Halligan
96 Posted 13/03/2020 at 10:44:47
Red Echo saying Monday's game is off.
Rennie Smith
97 Posted 13/03/2020 at 10:47:15
Result: Covid 19, Redshite 18
Derek Thomas
98 Posted 13/03/2020 at 10:48:09
Jim @95; neither can I, it'll get re-canceled / abandoned. I like the German model of no champions, no relegation and the top 2 promoted.
Rob Halligan
99 Posted 13/03/2020 at 10:49:58
Mr Karma is slowly sailing up the River Mersey.
Tony Everan
100 Posted 13/03/2020 at 10:51:00
Derek, I can see that outcome being the most acceptable.
Jay Wood
[BRZ]

101 Posted 13/03/2020 at 10:51:27
Deary Lord Jim @ 91. What a cheerful little Munchkin you are.

It's a first step. They can review the situation again and extend the suspension if need be.

All very sensible.

Governments and sports bodies have been hesitant and reluctant to take drastic measures until now.

Now, they are all falling like dominoes. Football Leagues and Continental competitions suspended. PGA golf calendar likewise. Formula 1 and e-Formula. Tennis. NBA basketball. Cricket...they can no longer be in denial that all have a duty beyond keeping their sponsors and TV contracts happy.

Swallow this bitter pill now before having to take a more serious dose of medicine later.

This has become a rapidly moving story in the last 24 hours. Worrying now over how to make up the lost fixtures is not the priority. Plenty of time to resolve that when things normalize. And they will.

Brent Stephens
102 Posted 13/03/2020 at 10:52:09
BBC saying games suspended till 4th April
Tom Bowers
103 Posted 13/03/2020 at 10:52:25
I think Everton have been in self-isolation all season.
Russell Smith
104 Posted 13/03/2020 at 10:53:34
Phone call in next 10 minutes.

Premier League Chairman: "Is that Herr Klopp?"
Klopp: "Yes?"
PLC: "Due to the coronavirus prediction that the UK will only peak in May, we are going to have to cancel the remainder of the matches this season, and there will not be time to re-schedule before the start on next season."
Klopp: "Yes, I see that. So we will be pronounced as Premier League Champions then?"
PLC: "No, sorry, Jurgen, the season will just be void in the record books."
Klopp: "Fucking what!!!!!"
PLC: "Bye."

Brian Williams
105 Posted 13/03/2020 at 11:24:27
Friday the 13th...

The day Liverpool lost the title!

Steve Brown
106 Posted 13/03/2020 at 12:17:12
Living in a country which had the secondest highest number of cases through January and February after China, from experience, it will take 3 months to stabilise the outbreak in the UK.
Michael Barrett
107 Posted 13/03/2020 at 12:25:50
Brian @105... fucking superb!
Jay Woods
108 Posted 13/03/2020 at 13:42:37
No way can they be given the title if the league is cancelled. Unless we are now retrospectively awarded the 1986 European Cup, as "we would have won it anyway".

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