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Premier League Suspends Play

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As the impact of COVID-19 has cascaded throughout the sporting world, the EPL is the latest league to go on hiatus.

Liverpool v Atletico Madrid - UEFA Champions League - Round of 16 - Second Leg - Anfield
This scene at the midweek Liverpool v. Atletico Madrid Champions League match foretold the inevitable decision from the EPL.
Photo by Peter Byrne/PA Images via Getty Images

COVID-19 SITUATION

Let’s start by stating the obvious, that any sports and fantasy sports impact is of little concern compared to the serious real-life ramifications of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. We watch sports and play fantasy sports for fun. COVID-19 is a life and death matter.

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IMPACT ON THE FOOTBALL WORLD

This week, the world has witnessed domino after domino fall in terms of major events being canceled or suspended. As far as the impact of the virus on the football globe, we have seen a cascade of major recent announcements:

  • In the European realm, Italy has been hardest hit by the virus, with the country putting itself on nationwide quarantine. With respect to football, Serie A games have been suspended until April 3.
  • In Spain, the original decision from La Liga was that games would continue, but would be played in empty stadia until April 15. On Thursday, the league went further by suspending all games for a minimum of two rounds of fixtures after Real Madrid players were quarantined.
  • In Germany, several Bundesliga matches have been held behind closed doors.
  • In the United States, MLS announced a 30-day suspension of the season on Thursday.
  • In France, Ligue 1 announced on Tuesday that all matches will be played behind closed doors for a minimum of the following two weeks. On Friday Ligue 1 went further in announcing that all games would be suspended.
  • Of the four Champions League Round of 16 second leg fixtures held on Tuesday and Wednesday, two of them (one in Spain, Valencia v. Atalanta, and the other in France, Paris Saint-Germain v. Borussia Dortmund) were held in empty or near-empty stadia.
  • Two Europa League games that had originally been scheduled for Thursday — one in Spain, Sevilla v. Roma, and the other in Italy, Inter Milan v. Getafe — were postponed on Wednesday. Several other games were played (or are scheduled to be played) behind closed doors.
  • On Friday, Champions League and Europa League announced that all games would be suspended until further notice.

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Arsenal Training Session
Mikel Arteta doing what he loves, looking over a recent training session.
Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

IMPACT ON THE PREMIER LEAGUE

As for the Premier League, the dominoes also kept falling and falling, eventually leading to what seemed like an inevitable decision today:

  • The impact was felt in the EPL for the first time (not including the ban on pre-match handshakes) with Tuesday’s postponement of the Arsenal v. Manchester City game which was originally postponed in Week 28 (that first postponement was not related to COVID-19) and rescheduled at the tail end of GW29 on Wednesday. For fantasy managers who loaded up on Arsenal and/or Manchester City players and played a chip due in an effort to take advantage of the expected mini-double game week, it was an unfortunate blow. According to news reports, the fixture was postponed due to the possible exposure to COVID-19 by several Arsenal players due to the visit of Olympiakos in a recent Europa League match, as the Greek team’s owner, Evangelos Marinakis, has tested positive for the virus. Several Arsenal players and staff who were in close proximity to Marinakis underwent quarantine.
  • On Thursday, Leicester City announced that three unnamed players went into self-quarantine after showing symptoms of the virus. Manchester City announced that Benjamin Mendy was in self-quarantine. As well, Arsenal announced that manager Mikel Arteta had tested positive for the virus. Shortly thereafter, the Arsenal v. Brighton & Hove Albion game scheduled for this weekend was postponed.
  • On Friday, Chelsea announced that Callum Hudson-Odoi had tested positive for the virus, and that the rest of the team was in self-quarantine. Everton announced that an unnamed player had shown symptoms, leading the team and coaching staff to self-quarantine.
  • Following an emergency meeting on Friday, the EPL announced a suspension of games through at least April 3.

[SOURCE: BBC (click to see a very informative full timeline/list of the COVID-19 impact on the entire sporting world)]

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QUESTIONS FOR THE NEAR FUTURE

Much uncertainty remains in the sporting world, of course, headlined by questions regarding the Summer Olympics in Tokyo. In the football realm, will the leagues that have postponed until on or at least until a certain date actually return to action on that date, or might the entire seasons be canceled? Will the Euros 2020 originally scheduled to take place across the continent this summer be postponed or canceled? What will happen to World Cup qualifying?

Again, of course, the ultimate importance is everybody’s health and well-being. Please be sure to follow the advice of world health experts as well as instructions from your local and national governments.

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How are you dealing with the news that the EPL (and thus fantasy Premier League) are suspended? Answer the poll below and share your thoughts in the comments!

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Poll

What are you going to do with all of your extra time on the weekend now that the EPL is suspended?

This poll is closed

  • 27%
    Spend more quality time with the family, of course
    (5 votes)
  • 5%
    Finish reading War and Peace as you’ve always meant to
    (1 vote)
  • 5%
    Take an online course in wine tasting
    (1 vote)
  • 5%
    Find those dumbbells and short shorts in the closet and get some exercise
    (1 vote)
  • 44%
    Watch Netflix like everybody else supposedly will be doing en masse
    (8 votes)
  • 11%
    Other (share in comments)
    (2 votes)
18 votes total Vote Now