Despite COVID-19’s increasingly large effect on football, Manchester United will not face a late cancellation for their UEFA Europa League game in Austria on Thursday night, as it currently stands.
Juventus defender Daniele Rugani has contracted COVID-19 and Real Madrid’s squad have been put into self-isolation due to the virus. Three players at an unnamed Premier League club have shown symptoms, The Telegraph report.
However, a UEFA statement, released on Thursday lunchtime, said that football stakeholders would meet by video conference call next Tuesday. It made no reference to any games being cancelled before then, although fixtures involving Italian teams have already been postponed.
United have already learnt that they will play LASK without any fans in the stadium. Spanish newspaper Marca reported earlier that UEFA had decided to immediately suspend all Champions League and Europa League matches. For now, that appears not to be true.
United waiting for confirmation that game in Austria will go ahead
It’s now still possible that United’s support have seen their team play for the last time in March, at least. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side put in a superb performance last weekend to beat rivals City. The full football season is now coming under threat. Things are moving so quickly that a full suspension seems the only viable option.
As things stand, United’s league game against Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday is going ahead. But as seen in other leagues across Europe, that decision could change within the space of hours.
Ticket holders may be given streams to watch games, according to a report on Thursday morning had indicated that all Premier League games would be played behind closed doors. That would make England one of the few countries still persisting with the sporting calendar. Serie A, La Liga and Ligue 1 have all called suspensions.
United have already refunded supporters who travelled to see LASK tie
United’s squad, of course, are already in Linz, Austria and have been accompanied by around 1000 supporters. Once it was announced that no fans would be allowed in the ground, many had already set off. In a fantastic gesture, the club have automatically given £350 to all travelling fans to cover costs.
When was the last time Manchester United had a game cancelled?
It’s rare for games to be cancelled at such late notice. United, perhaps strangely, have some recent experience in this department. In the summer of 2016, a pre-season ‘friendly’ version of the Manchester derby was called off due to weather conditions during a tour of China.
Earlier in the year, a bomb scare saw the club’s final Premier League match of the season, against AFC Bournemouth, postponed with only an hour until kick-off. It was played a few days later.
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