In Spain, football has been suspended for two weeks while Real Madrid’s players and staff remain in isolation after a club basketball player tested positive for coronavirus. In Italy, Serie A is on hold for a month and two players have tested positive.
In the United States, the NBA, NHL, and MLS have all suspended their seasons. Meanwhile, limits on public gatherings and travel are expanding rapidly on both sides of the Atlantic. And with three Leicester City players showing symptoms, many assumed the Premier League would follow suit.
It appears, at least for now—though with the reminder that a lot can change in a very short time when it comes to coronavirus—that the Premier League plans on pushing ahead this weekend. That the games will be played and that the fans will be in attendance.
This based on a press release by the English Football League citing discussions with the Premier League, Football Association, and UK government that saw the four parties arrive at the consensus conclusion that games would go ahead as planned.
EFL matches will continue to take place as normal while the guidance from the relevant authorities remains that there is no medical rationale to close or cancel sporting events at this time.
The EFL, however, will continue to work with Government and relevant stakeholders to further develop contingency plans. EFL Chair Rick Parry held discussions with the FA and Premier League and agreed on a consistent approach ahead of this weekend’s round of fixtures.
Matters will be further discussed at a meeting called by European Football’s Governing body, UEFA, on Tuesday 17 March.
While there is no official word on the matter from the Premier League at this time, the EFL clearly believe that their decision to play games with fans in attendance this weekend is being made as part of a “consistent approach” with the EPL.
Unless and until we officially hear otherwise, then, it appears that the English leagues are fully determined to see football played this weekend with the fans in attendance.