By Tim Stannard
Mega virtual meeting between European soccer suits to discuss what comes next after COVID-19 threat passes
On Tuesday, soccer fans in Europe may not get a 'when' all the leagues are going to be back in business and completed to the very end but an 'if'.
And that might be enough to give a little bit of hope in a continent where the beautiful game is sacrosanct and where millions are currently bunkered down in their homes, contemplating watching straight-to-Netflix movies and desperate to be complaining about VAR again.
A series of meetings via video-conference between UEFA suits, The European Clubs Association, European Leagues and the World Players Association are taking place today to map out what comes next after the worst of the COVID-19 virus outbreak has passed.
Once the first hour has been spent with attendees trying unsuccessfully to download the video-conferencing software, losing their dial-in password, trying to turn their microphone on, complaining that someone is breathing too heavily and getting offended by overly-expressive attendees forgetting they are on camera, the serious business of mapping the future will get underway.
The primary topic is what to do with the 2020 European Championships. The vibe is that the tournament will move to the summer of 2021. That will then cause a knock-on effect to all those to tournaments planned at that time such as the hugely unpopular expanded FIFA Club World Cup, but one problem at a time.
Indeed, a report from the Norwegian FA has potentially leaked that this is going to be the plan, although at time of writing there has been no official announcement.
Next - the Champions League and the Europa League. That could be resolved with one-match games from the quarterfinal stages being played March Madness style at the end of the domestic campaign.
It's those domestic campaigns for the leagues that are the key. These are the ones that will keep clubs in business and give some hope to supporters that they will one day be back in the stands booing Gareth Bale or their own team's equivalent.
While musing over all of the various challenges & permutations on how to resolve the multitude of diverse challenges facing our football calendar ,I discovered a gorgeous new word...like finding a diamond!— Ray Hudson (@RayHudson) March 16, 2020
The Sports Burst live show will be up and running at 12PM ET and might well have some news from a big day.
IOC begins Olympics discussions as Japan PM promises "complete" Games
While a tiny bit of hope might be handed out to soccer fans across the world today, it's time to extinguish that flaming flicker of joy between the fingers of destiny and move on to what Sports Burst is calling 'Cancellation Corner.'
It's a daily update covering sports bodies that have been digging in its heels but have now given in to the reality that events with 10 people watching are not a lot of fun. Even more so, when the competitors can't actually get there.
The announcement of the postponement of the Kentucky Derby is expected to be made on Tuesday morning. The 146th running of the race from Louisville is set to take place in September instead.
The first three meets of the Diamond League of track and field have been postponed.
The first event in Qatar, scheduled for the 17th April, and the following two in China have been wiped off the calendar. That is another indication that the recent declaration from Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, that he expects the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo will be "complete" in the sense of all events played and with fans in attendance is simply blind optimism.
The Games are set to begin on July 24th and a stubborn refusal from Abe to concede that significant changes to the plan might have to be made are understandable, considering a decade of planning and construction along with tens of billions of dollars spent have been put into the Olympics.
However, if athletes around the world are on lockdown for an unpredictable amount of time, cannot train properly or compete in events then it is hard to see how the Olympics are feasible in its current timeframe and format.
The IOC are set to discuss all these topics internally from Tuesday.