Coronavirus in sport: Nationwide postponement of football matches affects Leicestershire clubs

By Ben Sanderson

Leicester City’s games against Watford, Chelsea and Brighton have been postponed due to the outbreak of the coronavirus.

The Premier League announced on Friday, March 13, that, in conjunction with the English Football League, it would suspend all games until April 4 as the UK tries to contain the spread of coronavirus.

Scientifically named COVID-19, the virus has caused 1,543 cases in the UK and 55 deaths at the time of writing.

It has affected all aspects of life in the UK, including sport, and all elite clubs are casualties of the cull of public events.

Hinckley AFC and Coalville Town have also had games postponed in the Midland League and Southern League, respectively.

The lack of football raises significant questions over what to do with the rest of the Premier League season.

Image result for coronavirus
Image courtesy of US National Park Sefvice: The coronavirus

Some advocate ending the season as it stands, an outcome which may suit Leicester City, given their positioning within the Champions League spots.

Others, including former UEFA executive Lars-Christer Olsson, believe the season must be played to an end when possible for the good of European competitions.

There is also a (weak) argument that last season’s top four may be allowed the top four spots given the unique circumstances of this season.

That would see Arsenal, 9th this term, qualify for the Champions League, due to Manchester City’s 2-year ban from European football for falsifying sponsorship revenue.

It is known that if that were to be the case, Liverpool, Manchester United, Wolves and Sheffield United would all oppose the move in league with the Foxes.

Unfortunately, a 14-team majority would fill the quota needed to agree to the season’s end now with honours given to last season’s frontrunners, so two other teams would need to join Leicester’s camp.

The relegation strugglers would not be in that camp, with West Ham chairwoman Karren Brady firmly backing ending the season now as null and void.

There remains a general consensus Liverpool with their 25-point lead should be crowned champions as recognition of their excellent season, with Brady even retracting her original comments on that, but little on Leicester’s final position, which some may say is unjust given Leicester have an eight-point cushion within the Champions League spots.

Photo courtesy of Mark Charles: Leicester City thrashed Aston Villa 4-0 in what may be their last game of this season
Photo courtesy of Mark Charles: Leicester City sit third, eight points clear of 5th-placed Manchester United, and whether they would be in next season’s Champions League remains to be seen with the Premier League quite possibly prepared to ask the 20 clubs if the season should end early

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