The Premier League has suspended play as a response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) meaning there are no games on TV today, or for the rest of March. In a statement released by the EPL, the league revealed plans to continue matches on April 4 unless complications continue to arise from COVID-19.
“In this unprecedented situation, we are working closely with our clubs, Government, The FA and EFL and can reassure everyone the health and welfare of players, staff and supporters are our priority,” Premier League chief executive Richard Master said in a statement. “Despite the challenges, it is the Premier League’s aim to reschedule the displaced fixtures, including those played by Academy sides, when it is safe to do so.”
The announcement came on the eve of a weekend full of scheduled games. The league called an emergency meeting after Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta and Chelsea’s Callum Hudson-Odoi both tested positive for the virus.
The EPL Is Scheduled to Resume Play on April 4
As we have seen in the American sports landscape, all plans are subject to change. As of now, play will be suspended for three weeks and resume on April 4. Yet, there is some skepticism that the season will continue as planned. Sky News reported that a club source put the odds at “75 percent chance” that the EPL season is canceled.
“I can’t see any chance we will be back in three weeks,” the club source explained to Sky News. “This will go on for months and you wonder even about the start of next season…I’d say there is a 75% chance the season will not be completed. There are huge questions to answer. Does anybody get promoted or relegated?…Many clubs in all four divisions will struggle financially.”
This is a season where Liverpool sits comfortably atop the table, but there are still plenty of relegation battles in play. Very few people can predict how the coronavirus will play out globally in the coming weeks, making it even more challenging to know when soccer matches will continue.
Champions League Matches Have Also Been Postponed
We briefly saw Champions League matches being played with no fans, but it became more challenging to continue as players along with coaches started testing positive for COVID-19. Champions League games for the next week (March 17-18) have been postponed.
The quarterfinal draws have also been postponed, and it is not clear when the games will be rescheduled. UEFA detailed the decision in a statement released on the postponement of the tournament.
This includes the remaining UEFA Champions League, Round of 16 second leg matches scheduled on 17 and 18 March 2020; all UEFA Europa League, Round of 16 second leg matches scheduled on 19 March 2020; all UEFA Youth League, quarter-final matches scheduled on 17 and 18 March 2020.
Further decisions on when these matches take place will be communicated in due course.
As a consequence of the postponements, the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League quarter-final draws scheduled for 20 March have also been postponed.
It will be interesting to see if the Premier League ends up canceling the season, or if games will be played beginning in April as the statement indicates. Given the global nature of soccer, we have seen games impacted all over the world with no signs of this slowing down.