I have to admit I’ve been pretty blasé about the whole Coronavirus stuff. I mean I’ve washed my hands rigorously and many times a day, I use that alcohol gel wherever I go, following all the guidelines, etc. But as long as it’s been minimal cases in the UK and we’ve still had our sporting fixtures going on, I’ve not really had any particular thoughts or worries.
So to wake up this morning to hear about the fact that Coronavirus has hit our club via the Olympiakos owner, causing tonight’s game against Man City to be postponed, really does hit home just how much closer to general life being disrupted that we are.
But it’s not just the fact it’s affecting sporting events relevant to us, it’s also the knock on effects of this situation, that shows how quickly this virus can sweep football.
For example, if:
Olympiakos chairman tests positive. One Arsenal player meets chairman after game.
Arsenal players self isolate across the whole squad and get tested. If one Arsenal player is found positive:
West Ham players self isolate for 14 days. Portsmouth players too as we played Portsmouth in between time. But Portsmouth played Fleetwood Town yesterday and Peterborough on Saturday. So they will all need to think about being tested. Fleetwood played Blackpool at the weekend so what happens with them?
How far down the chain does it go?
It shows you just how difficult this is to contain but also just how close we probably are to most sporting events going either behind closed doors or postponed. And then what? What about the fans that paid money for travel and tickets? Do they get that money back? Do the clubs then refund? Then do they claim back the cash from insurance? Is that a thing?
There are so many questions that arise from this Coronavirus spread that it boggles the mind. I was talking to the lads on the radio on Monday night and lamenting the fact that the timing of this City game – as I expected us to lose – was unfortunate. But the response I got was that the Premier League has told both clubs that of Man City go deep in the Champions League and FA Cup, then they don’t know when this game could be played.
Well, we’re now into that territory and who knows when this game will now be played, or whether they’ll have to extend the football season.
I don’t even know if that is feasible given the Euros that are supposed to be taking place.
And what about our players in self isolation? If we have half the squad missing for two weeks then that’s at least three games that we’re going to have a decimated squad; surely the Premier League wouldn’t force us to play the kids, would they? I know our season is touch or go as to whether it’s a complete bust or not, but that would be an almighty kick in the teeth to the club to force them to play matches with a large chunk of the squad missing.
But what would be the alternative? Shoehorn three games a week in April and May? It would be a nightmare, not to mention potentially damaging in terms of injury, fatigue and general quality of the football we watch.
So what’s the alternative?
No idea. We’re now at the stage where we’re going to have to accept that Coronavirus and the chaos that has enveloped both China and Italy is very real, certainly here, and some kind of resolution from a sporting perspective has to be found.
That’s it for today I’m afraid. No point doing a match preview and it feels like pretty much everything is on hold at the moment. We just have to cross everything that all of the Arsenal players test negative for the virus, which I’d imagine Arsenal will have testing taking place today to ascertain just how deep the potential threat runs in the whole squad.
Hopefully we get some answers quickly and we get some positive ones at that.
Catch you guys tomorrow.