It’s week three of this weekly sports roundup and week one of absolutely no sport.
Rugby league finally shut up shop on Monday, leaving no major professional sports fixtures standing in the UK.
The decision was made at a board meeting in Huddersfield to suspend the Super League, Championship, League One and the Women’s Super League until at least April 3rd, though resuming in two weeks’ time seems highly unlikely.
Huddersfield Giants say they’ll be operating from the John Smiths’ “on a skeleton staff” and that players and coaches will be asked to remain at home “while a plan is formulated to enable them to maintain some degree of fitness during the enforced lay off.”
Bradford Bulls announced similar measures, and issued an upbeat message to supporters:
🤝 | YOUR support for us has been incredible. Now is the time to support yourselves and each other.— Bradford Bulls (@OfficialBullsRL) March 17, 2020
👋 | We will see you soon. pic.twitter.com/WWWzv2JJH8
If you’re desperate for your fix of live sports, Australia’s NRL is still playing behind closed doors for the time being:
BREAKING: Actual live sports on actual television right now! https://t.co/j5oQtpx6Bd— Patrick Carter (@PCarterRadio) March 21, 2020
In football, meanwhile, that April 3rd date has been pushed back to April 30th. The FA also announced that their top priority is to finish this season, and as such they’ve lifted the rile in the law book stating that each season must be completed by June 30th at the earliest.
This measure was made significantly more likely by UEFA’s postponement of Euro 2020. It will now take place next summer; though will keep the “2020” name and be held in the same venues around the continent, with the semi-finals and final at Wembley in London.
This will doubtless interfere with FIFA’s shiny revamped Club World Cup in China, which was due to take place in summer 2021, meaning coronavirus is likely to continue disrupting events for at least another 18 months or so.
Locally, Bradford City have extended their suspension of first team training. The players were meant to meet up for training tomorrow, but will now be continuing their home fitness routines in an attempt to be ready for the season whenever it restarts.
Plenty of clubs have been filling the time no longer occupied by football on Twitter, including Huddersfield Town, who posted this helpful piece of hygiene advice:
Despite the vast amounts of money at stake at the top of the pyramid, the shutdown is arguably causing the most chaos at non-league level.
The National League and its respective North and South Divisions are keeping their initial April 3rd date for the time being, though it’s widely understood to be a placeholder.
On Friday National League North side Guisley AFC posted their assessment of the financial toll the suspension is likely to take on the club.
In a statement, they said “the club’s income is heavily dependent upon home games, 3G hire and other sources of finance. Whilst we run quite a tight ship financially, the ceasing, and possible abandonment of the season is and will continue to hit us hard financially, in the region of £65,000.
We hope that the English football family will help and support non-league clubs to remain in business, but in the immediate short term our cashflow has dried up. Therefore, we will be launching some initiatives to help us through this difficult time.”
It paints a picture of similar situations across non-league, with some football clubs, like many businesses, unsure if they’ll be able to survive.
We’ll be back next Sunday to bring you the latest in whatever happens next in these strange times.
Until then stay safe, we’re all Bradford PA right now:
How do people who don’t like football cope through life? This is horrible pic.twitter.com/3yZ8FoFDLH— Bradford (Park Avenue) AFC (@BPAFCOfficial) March 17, 2020