A worrying resurgence in COVID-19 cases in Europe has posed fresh challenges for European Football. After returning to action in June with strict measures and empty stadiums; European Football was almost going smoothly. Players were being cautious and acute measures and protocols were followed to restrict the virus within the sports complexes.
A 2nd wave of the Corona Virus pandemic has hit Europe. France went under emergency due to COVID and other social turbulences. UK, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the Netherlands have submitted themselves to a second lockdown after a month or two of relaxation.
With infection rates across the continent growing at a greater rate than ever, Dutch giants Ajax announced that "a number of players" have tested positive for coronavirus and missed their Champions League clash with Danish side Midtjylland on Tuesday.
According to multiple local media outlets, at least 11 players, including captain Dusan Tadic, goalkeeper Andre Onana and midfielder Zakaria Labyad, were forced to be omitted from Ajax's match-day squad due to virus concerns.
Ajax coach Erik ten Hag was clearly frustrated by the huge blow. They were victorious on their away trip. Coach Hag was reluctant to expand on the issue.
"I can't say anything about the exact reasons and I'm also not going to comment on individuals because of privacy reasons. All I know is that they did not get permission to enter Denmark," he told reporters at the press conference before the match.
He further added-
"It has to do with testing. All I can say is the players affected by this are healthy in the sense that they don't have any symptoms or complaints,"
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Ukrainian side Dynamo Kiev was also devastated by the fresh outbreak as nine players will miss their very important away Champions League tie against Barcelona at Camp Nou on Wednesday. They are all first-team players including two goalkeepers Georgiy Bushchan and Denys Boyko They will be going to Spain with a threshold number of players in their squad.
The club also confirmed that the tests of assistant coach Emil Karas and four representatives of the team's staff gave a positive result. This is a worrying sign of how even after such strict guidelines and numerous protocols.
In the champions League opening week Shakhtar Donetsk missed 10 of their first trip players due to COVID in an important away game to Real Madrid.
In Spain, Real Madrid defender Eder Militao missed their Champions League home game against Inter Milan as he contracted coronavirus ahead of their match. There were multiple reports saying there is more than one player or staff testing positive. But there isn’t any news as of now.
But Militao will miss further matches in La Liga. His absence could be another headache for Zinedine Zidane as the Real coach has already lost Dani Carvajal, Alvaro Odriozola and Nacho to injuries.
Meanwhile, defending champions Bayern Munich said defender Niklas Suele is self-isolating after testing positive for COVID-19 ahead of their showdown with RB Salzburg in Austria. He won’t be available for their next game. Suele is the second Bayern player to be pulled out of the Champions League after Serge Gnabry, who missed Bayern’s opening match against Atletico Madrid after contracting the virus.
Premier League is projecting the possibility of suspending football again in England. There was a growing concern since the month of September that a 2nd wave might hit Europe during the winter. Boris Johnson, The Prime Minister of UK announced a lockdown in their country with only essential services and schools to remain open. He also announced that new Covid-19 restrictions within the UK could last six months. It means the discussion of suspension of football is definitely on the table. Germany after months of decreased COVID 19; will be facing a humongous task ahead of them to restrict the contraction of 2nd wave.
In parts of the world like, New Zealand government is planning on bringing the Audience to the field. But there is yet to be any discussion as such in Europe. Spain authorities have shown enthusiasm to bring the fans back to the stadium by the end of February. But with the current scenario, it seems this whole season will be played behind closed door.
However, should larger clusters of COVID 19 positive are found within teams and officials, it is possible that the European Football could suspend play once again.