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WHO Recommends Suspending All International Competitions Until 2022

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The World Health Organization reportedly wishes to suspend all international competitions, including the Champions League, until the end of 2021.

Sport Coronavirus Photo by Martin Rickett/PA Images via Getty Images

While various European leagues weigh their options on how to finish the current season, cup competitions—especially international cup competitions—are a different question entirely.

Within a country, it is easier to sequester a relatively small number of players and essential staff in order to play the games behind closed doors and/or convert parking lots into makeshift drive-in theaters, than it is to do the same between countries, who are very likely at different points along the pandemic “curve.”

As such, the World Health Organization is apparently discussing the suspension of all international competitions until the end of 2021, as reported by Italian publication La Repubblica. In football terms, this means that the current Champions League and Europa League would likely be canceled, and the AFCON and Euros are both at risk as well.

Unlike league play, the nature of knock-out cup competitions is such that they are easier to abandon. That is to say that there is no built-up advantage over the course of a season, like, for a random example, 25-points.

Any of the remaining teams in a cup competition could claim a slim chance of capturing glory. It’s one of the exciting aspects of knock-out competitions. And also one of the aspects which makes it easier to abandon the whole endeavor without as many long-term consequences.

Now, having seen our beloved Mighty Reds knocked out of the Champions League, it might be perceived as a hypocritical stance to support finishing the league but not the Champions League. However, the logistics involved when traveling safely between countries is far different than within a country.

If these international competitions can be completed safely, of course it would be a very welcomed development. As for now, it will be difficult enough finishing the current league seasons in the foreseeable future. Because of the cumulative advantage (or disadvantage) gained throughout a season that is three-quarters finished, and the relatively ease of addressing safety and logistical concerns, the domestic leagues must be the priority right now.