With the COVID-19 outbreak getting progressively worse in Europe, the leading football associations have been left with no choice but to put their respective leagues on hold. Not only that, international football tournaments have also been postponed. Our Sports editor, Paul Neat, is in the studio with us this week. Paul, what's the latest?
Connyoung, during an emergency video conference this week, UEFA made the decision to postpone the 2020 European Championships. The tournament was originally scheduled to start on June 12th, and take place across 12 host nations.
This will allow European domestic leagues to finish their seasons. Ending the seasons now as null and void would result in huge financial implications, particularly in terms of broadcast deals. The broadcast deal for the English Premier League, for example, is worth about 4 billion U.S Dollars a year.
So, with this news, do we know when leagues in Europe will start up again?
Taking England for example, after a meeting on Thursday, the EPL and EFL announced that games in the top four divisions are to be postponed until April 30th at the very least.but said they are "committed" to finding a way to complete the season.
If or when the season does pick back up again, it should allow Liverpool to officially seal the Premier League title. They are 25 points clear and very close to a first league crown in 30 years. It also means that there's time for Son Heung-min to return to fitness and help guide Tottenham to European qualification.
Staying in Europe for a moment, a South Korean footballer currently in Europe has tested positive for COVID-19, what can you tell us about that?
That's right. Suk Hyun-jun, who has had something of a nomadic career. Beginning in the Netherlands and has gone on to play for 11 different clubs in five different countries. He is currently in France, playing for second division side Troyes where he was confirmed to have tested positive for COVID-19. He is now recovering and in isolation.
There's also potentially alarming news over in Spain too as it has been reported that 35% of Valencia's first team squad have tested positive for the virus teammates of South Korean wonderkid Lee Kang-in. Only two players have come out and announced that they have tested positive, Ezequiel Garay and Eliaquim Mangala, though. They are of course now in isolation.
Paul, you mentioned Lee Kang-in just there, he has been touted as a player who could be part of South Korea's Olympics football squad but, given what has happend with the European Championships, will the Olympics suffer the same fate?
Well, the International Olympic Committee had said this week that they "remain fully committed to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020". Thomas Bach, the head of the Olympic Committee, said they are "considering various scenarioscancelling is not one of them." Adding: "It is a unique exceptional situation, which requires exceptional solutions."
However, a member of the Japanese Olympic Committee has said publically that the games should be postponed.and will argue her case at a meeting on March 27th.
Okay, thank-you very much for that update, Paul. See you again next week.