The past 36 hours have felt like year. We’ve seen major cancellations of sporting events, music festivals, and entire leagues as local government officials across the globe try to come to grips with the spread of COVID-19.
Earlier today, it was reported that, as far as European Football was concerned, matches this weekend would progress as normal. This came in the same space as news was released that Leicester City has three players test positive for the novel coronavirus and of the Champions League postponing the second leg go Manchester City and Real Madrid’s Round of 16 tie.
Now, the most recent news reports have confirmed that Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has tested positive for COVID-19. It is big news that makes one wonder if we’ve finally reached the tipping point that will have forced the hand of the English FA to finally decide to cancel matches.
James Pearce indicates that this news may be just that moment.
Premier League statement: “In light of Arsenal’s announcement confirming that first-team coach Mikel Arteta has tested positive for COVID-19, the Premier League will convene an emergency club meeting tomorrow morning regarding future fixtures.”— James Pearce (@JamesPearceLFC) March 12, 2020
No way games can continue now.
No way to know for sure, of course, what will come out of that meeting. And there’s still the very real issue of other aspects of our social institutions in major metropolitan areas that have yet to decide to apply social distancing measures (public transport, businesses/office buildings, etc.). But there’s also the hope that as people are internalizing these measures being taken by some of the most visible public institutions, it may finally cause people to begin to accept that business as usual is not how we deal with a pandemic.
It should hardly require saying but all concerns around Liverpool’s claims to the title - as much as I likely generally feel the same angst as some about it given these circumstances - are more than a few rungs lower on the scale of importance than the health of our friends and family. And many may not recognize it, but there are likely people whose health places them in a higher risk category if they were to contract this illness - as an asthmatic, I am one such person.
Our attention shifts to the FA and what comes out of their emergency meeting, then. Here’s hoping they act in a manner that prioritizes the health of their players, workers, and fans.