The Covid-19 virus is back in force and at a time when the new football season is on the horizon. Just a few days ago it seemed that the impact of the virus had been thwarted in parts of Europe when England unveiled plans to finally Doors open for spectators in the Premier League starting next season.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had announced relaxations related to regulations surrounding the wearing of masks and other appropriate Covid behavior in the UK.
But everything seems to have come undone, as the virus again wreaked havoc and could affect the next season in football. And the effect is not just limited to Britain this time.
Clubs in Italy and Spain have also been hit the hardest by the notorious virus this time around. As the new season gets closer and closer, FootTheBall looks at the effects and ramifications it can have on club football across Europe.
KARIM BENZEMA TESTS POSITIVE FOR COVID-19
The French striker in exile, who had been frozen by Didier Deschamps for almost six years out of Les Bleus squad, he was finally granted a call-up for the Euro 2020 tournament.
The fact that France had been drawn into the so-called ‘Group of Death’ coupled with Benzema’s excellent performance with Real Madrid in the 2020-21 season led Deschamps to make the decision.
But just before the start of the 2021-22 season, the former Lyon player has fallen prey to the deadly virus, something that will see Carlo Ancelotti show his quintessential crisis management skills to dispense with the French forward for a while.
The whites announced this on the club’s official website with a short, succinct statement confirming that Benzema had tested positive for Covid-19.
Official Statement: Karim Benzema#Real Madrid
– Real Madrid CF (@realmadrid) July 23, 2021
Madrid issued a statement on Friday morning that read as follows: “Real Madrid CF confirms that our player Karim Benzema has tested positive for COVID-19 ”.
Looking ahead, the Frenchman will now have to isolate himself while Carlo Ancelotti and company continue preparations for the new season.
And it is expected that Real Madrid will have to do without the French player during the first weeks of the season in Spain at least.
ARSENAL CANCELS FOOTBALL PRE-SEASON TOUR DUE TO COVID-19 CONCERNS
On the other hand, the English club Arsenal canceled its preseason tour of the United States of America due to concerns about the spread of the virus in the group of the team that was scheduled to cross the pond.
The Gunners have reported a small number of positive Covid-19 cases within the club and have therefore canceled the preseason tour in Florida.
They were scheduled to travel to the southeastern state of the United States to participate in the Florida Cup alongside the Italian champion Inter Milan, the Premier League team Everton and the Colombian club Millionarios.
According to media reports, people who have tested positive are isolated in their respective homes and are asymptomatic as things currently stand. The English club issued an official statement to this effect that said the following:
“After a small amount of positive Covid testing among the group planned to travel to America tomorrow, we have sadly been forced to withdraw from the Florida Cup.
“This difficult decision is based on ensuring the health and well-being of our players and squad.” Following this development, Arsenal’s training base was thoroughly cleaned to prevent the spread of the virus among other teammates.
Meanwhile, Inter Milan have also canceled their pre-season tour to Florida over concerns about the spread of the virus in the United States of America, especially in the state of Florida.
In recent weeks, the southeastern US state has reported an increase in the number of coronavirus cases and, as such, Inter Milan saw fit to completely cancel their preseason plans.
As of now, only Everton and Millionarios will compete in the friendly competition in the United States before the regular season begins.
🚨 UPDATE INPUT AND OUTPUT 🚨
PLEASE NOTE: The game will now begin at 6pm ET.
– Florida Cup (@Florida_Cup) July 22, 2021
Chelsea was also reported to have detected a ‘possible positive’ Covid-19 case in her travel group. to Ireland for the preseason, and subsequently canceled the preseason friendly on Irish soil.
POSSIBLE IMPACT OF COVID-19 IN THE NEXT FOOTBALL SEASON
Spectators were only allowed during the final rounds of matches in the previous Premier League season, but optimism grew when the British government announced the relaxation of the rules and the easing of restrictions.
This led to the anticipation of witnessing full capacity stadiums for next season in England, with the The Premier League authorities expect fans to return in large numbers to the stadiums.. But the outbreak of the virus once again in the team’s camps has potentially put this proposed plan into question once again.
And financially, club revenues will be severely affected if fans do not return to the stadiums for the new season. All major European clubs have had to cut costs and lower player salaries to cope with the financial pressure of the pandemic.
But many were expecting the return of the fans for the upcoming season and this would surely have clouded their hopes for financial recovery and recovery after a grueling season, both literally for the players on the court and metaphorically for the club’s officials off the court.