TUESDAY’S BIG STORIES
UEFA meet to ask…what happens now?
From this meeting, the dominoes may well fall. The various parts, members, stakeholders and whatever else of UEFA will be calling in to one massive Google Hangout today in order to discuss what the merry hell happens now.
The most likely conclusion from all of this is that Euro 2020 is pushed back…to when, we are not sure – maybe December, maybe January, maybe next summer – but it’s obvious that the pan-continental tournament can’t happen as scheduled. And they will probably have to take a pause and wonder whether it’s responsible to send hundreds of thousands of people pinging across Europe at any time while this virus is still a factor, which it’s probably going to be for a long while yet.
Not that there aren’t complications. The Athletic report this morning that UEFA will demand that clubs and leagues cover the cost of shifting the whole thing back a year, a cost which comes to something like €300million. Seems a little harsh, unless it emerges that one of these club bigwigs took a trip to Wuhan in around December and started coughing on everyone upon their return.
There’s also the question of leagues Champions and Europa, which have rather inconveniently been suspended halfway through the completion of rounds. One mooted solution is for them to be squished into mini-tournaments, to hold the semi-finals and final over a few days in Istanbul later in the year, whenever it’s safe to do so. We realise this is about 20 miles down the list of priorities, and trying to take any positives from this whole thing can seem quite insensitive, but…that does sound brilliant, doesn’t it?
After all of this is boxed off, maybe domestic associations can get on with sorting out the messes that are their leagues: they all have a range of solutions, none of them perfect, most of them unfair and all of them extremely likely to violently annoy someone. Good luck!
Mason Mount: dunce of the week
Chelsea are in lockdown. After Callum Hudson-Odoi tested positive for COVID-19 last week, they have closed off part of their training ground and have instructed players and staff to self-isolate. By which they mean: stay indoors, for Pete’s sake, stay indoors.
Those instructions were apparently ignored by Mason Mount, who was pictured having a kickaround with his old mate Declan Rice and some others at a football centre near Barnet, north London. I mean really: come on guys. It perhaps acts as a microcosm of how the UK has treated this crisis thus far, in that it’s taken a good while for people to realise that it’s actually pretty serious, and apparently plenty aren’t quite there yet even now.
Mount has been given a ticking off, and the whole Chelsea squad reminded about the importance of self-isolation, before hopefully someone hammered large pieces of wood over their doors and windows.
Bruno Fernandes named player of the month
Yep, there is no news really. We’re scraping the barrel. Really it’s just an excuse to share one of our own tweets, which is pretty shameless, but whatchagonnado?
IN OTHER NEWS
If the coronavirus hadn’t ripped through the sporting calendar, Southgate would still have had few opportunities to shuffle his goalkeeper deck ahead of Euro 2020. Could he really have turned away from Jordan Pickford, as he did Joe Hart? Sure, he’s made a handful of huge errors for Everton, but he has proven largely dependable for England in the past, particularly in penalty shootouts. It’s not time to panic yet. But an extra 12 months would shield Southgate from making a rash decision and give him time (should there be any football to judge) to also consider Sheffield United’s Dean Henderson and Burnley’s Nick Pope.
As there is no other news, we might as well share one of our pieces. Ben Snowball has been looking at the potential brightsides of football’s shutdown, and one of them might be Gareth Southgate and the England side. Why? Well, he explains why here.
Diego Simeone can smell the alcohol on Ariel Ortega’s breath. The River Plate boss knows that his captain hasn’t been to bed. It’s 11am on Saturday June 22, 2008. In a little over 24 hours, River will conclude their title-winning Clausura campaign at Banfield’s Estadio Florencio Sola. The stadium will be full, not only to celebrate the legendary Javier Sanguinetti’s final game for the home side, but to witness Ortega lift the trophy in the centre circle.
For FourFourTwo, Andy Murray (not that one) profiles Diego Simeone.
He spots the keeper off his line, carefully lines up the shot and expertly judges the bounce into the corner of the net. On this day in 2003, Paul Robinson scores one of his two career goals…