The news that the Premier League has been suspended will be of great concern for fans, players and the general public at large. Measures like these are not taken lightly and contingency measures must be in place before such decisions are taken. At the heart of this is the issue of safety – the safety of players and fans is paramount and if the Premier League believe this course of action is the best way to keep those concerned safe, then we support them in their decision.
After the news of Mikel Arteta being diagnosed with Covid-19, it is not entirely surprising that such a drastic decision has been taken, and at a time where public sensitivity is at fever pitch, it is reassuring to see swift action from the relevant authorities. However, it is important that the next steps and potential implications are now communicated quickly and concisely. After all, football is not just a game, for many it is a business and their livelihood.
While we await further news, it is clear that logistically this will have huge implications. With Euro 2020 still scheduled to go ahead across Europe, it is still unclear how and when the remaining games of the Premier League season will be rescheduled and what will happen to those teams who are in contention for winners’ titles or indeed are in contention for relegation.
It also remains unclear what action football’s governing bodies will take in the coming days and weeks. Many footballing authorities have decided to suspend, postpone or play games behind closed doors while UEFA have decided to cancel the Champions League games that were due to take place next week.
In the 21st Century, travelling from country to country following your team across Europe is as convenient as it is affordable. Cooperation across borders is vital – it is clear that this virus does not respect national borders and with government’s across the world implementing contingency measures, it is clear that a global response is necessary. With the WHO declaring the virus as a pandemic and with national footballing authorities now taking action individually, the safety of fans and players must be at the forefront of the authorities minds when deciding their next course of action.