The soccer news starts with leagues suspending their schedules due to the coronavirus. As of now, the German and Mexican leagues are the only ones with games on the schedule this weekend, with that subject to change. Since Major League Soccer joined Serie A and La Liga in suspending their leagues, most of Europe has followed suit. That includes the English leagues announcing they were postponing games on Friday after Arsenal's head coach Michael Arteta and Chelsea player Callum Hudson-Odoi tested positive for the coronavirus.
The FA, Premier League, EFL and FA Women's Super League and FA Women's Championship have collectively agreed to postpone the professional game in England until Friday 3 April at the earliest," reads the press statement from England's Football Association. "This action, which will be kept under constant review, has been taken due to the increasing numbers of clubs taking steps to isolate their players and staff because of the Covid-19 virus. It will also apply to all England team fixtures at every level and all FA competitions including the Emirates FA Cup and the Women's FA Cup, along with academy and youth-team matches. The decision is being made purely on the number of cases requiring self-isolation and the impact on facilities. Given the steps being taken across clubs, there is no alternative but for today's action.
UEFA has suspended the Champions League and Europa League next week and called a video conference for Tuesday to discuss further steps. "This includes the remaining UEFA Champions League, Round of 16 second leg matches scheduled on 17 and 18 March 2020; all UEFA Europa League, Round of 16 second leg matches scheduled on 19 March 2020; all UEFA Youth League, quarter-final matches scheduled on 17 and 18 March 2020. Further decisions on when these matches take place will be communicated in due course."
Concacaf also announced all of its competitions are suspended for 30 days. That includes the men's Olympic qualifying tournament.
Games did get played on Thursday in the opening legs of the Europa League's round of 16. John Brooks scored in Wolfsburg's 2-1 home loss to Shakhtar Donetsk. Falling behind in the 16th minute, Brooks equalized in the 48th. Shakhtar scored again in the 73rd minute.
"We couldn't make the most of our chances, while Shakhtar needed just one opportunity to win the game," Wolfsburg coach Oliver Glasner said. "That's the way things are in Europe - small details make the difference. The better your opponents, the more important those details become."
Matt Polster subbed on in the 85th minute for Rangers in their 3-1 home loss to Bayer Leverkusen. Rangers gave up a 37th minute penalty and were down 2-0 from the 67th. George Edmundson pulled a goal back in the 75th with Leverkusen scoring again in the 88th minute.
"We had them rattled at times and obviously, the fans came with us a lot more in the second half and fed off us," Rangers manager Steven Gerrard said. "So over the course of the game, I have no complaints in terms of the result, but I am disappointed it's 3-1 as we were poor defensively for the third goal. The second goal was a real, real high-calibre finish, but the third one we have to be better."
Timmy Chandler was on the bench for Eintracht's 3-0 home loss to FC Basel. Eintracht fell behind in the 27th minute with Basel scoring in the 73rd and 85th.
The result is shocking, I never expected that. We've come a long way and then had to play in front of empty stands. Football is no fun like that. We weren't entirely professional but we need to be. We mustn't look for excuses, we deserved to lose by such a margin. We did really well when we played behind closed doors in Marseille, but that wasn't the case today. That's not like us at home. The fans are always our 12th man and obviously they were a big loss for us."
FIFA officially announced the postponement of CONMEBOL's World Cup qualifiers scheduled for the March international window. The Independent's Miguel Delaney on what UEFA reportedly considering postponing Euro 2020 to next summer might mean for Europe's domestic leagues. FourFourTwo's Alex Jennings uses Serie A as the example for what might happen if a league can't finish its schedule.
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