This is a stance which looks likely to raise eyebrows across a number of nations, with a peak in cases in the coronavirus not expected to arrive for a number of weeks yet.
It is said by Cadena Cope that the Champions League could remove their two-legged format and play in a final four style tournament in Istanbul, where this competition’s final was due to be played.
The first proposal outlined was removing the two-legged nature of both the quarter finals and semi finals of this year’s competition, with those games being staged at a neutral venue.
The second would see the quarter finals be staged as normal before a ‘final four’ format of two one-off matches in the last four before the final, with all matches being staged in Istanbul – the venue of this season’s showpiece.
The reality is that any outcome would be unsatisfactory on some level regardless of when the football season restarts, with the Round of 16 of this year’s competition not yet finalised.
Atletico de Madrid are through to the last eight of this season along with Atalanta, RB Leipzig and Paris Saint-Germain, while Real Madrid and Barcelona’s Round of 16 ties against Manchester City and Napoli both respectively hang in the balance.
As pointed out by reports, British government projections currently have the coronavirus crisis in England peaking in 10 to 14 weeks, meaning that June would be the likeliest date for normality beginning to resume.
Spain is thought to be slightly ahead on a timescale, but such is the uncertainty surrounding the outbreak – nothing can be reported with any degree of certainty.
This report will spark alarm that the remainder of the 2019/20 season could be voided, which would not only have sporting implications but also economic ones – it is estimated that La Liga clubs stand to lose €700m in such an event.
It follows a report Cadena Cope that the league are insistent on completing the full fixture list for the 2019/20 season but accept that many games must be played behind closed doors.
“We are going to end the season, we are working on the times,” La Liga president Javier Tebas told Deportes Cuatro, as cited by El Mundo Deportivo. “There are several hypotheses: we hope to resume in April or May…I do not rule out that it may even be later. We are going to wait for what UEFA decides this Tuesday.”
All sport in Spain was initially suspended for a fortnight due to the outbreak of the coronavirus, but the nation declared a state of emergency on 13 March which will provisionally last 15 days and is likely to be extended further.
On Monday it was confirmed that Spain had overtaken South Korea as the fourth highest nation with the most cases of the virus globally.
On Tuesday, Spain confirmed 11,178 confirmed cases of coronavirus – a rise of 2,434 from Monday – while it now has a recorded 491 deaths – up 196 in the same timeframe – with the nation now in a state of lockdown.