Tarak Malhotra Staff Reporter, The Pawprint
In light of the recent COVID-19 outbreak, football teams across the world have opted to take action to combat it. Italian club Juventus’ players have chosen to waive their wages for four months to help ease Juventus’ burdens regarding staff payments, among other factors.
In England, many high-profile players and managers alike have been tested positive for the coronavirus. Arsenal manager and former player Mikel Arteta tested positive for the virus just weeks after Arsenal’s meeting with greek side Olympiakos in their Europa League fixture. Olympiakos manager Evangelos Marinakis tested positive right after the fixture, so all Arsenal staff went into quarantine and are still, as of March 29, in self-isolation.
Chelsea rising star Callum Hudson-Odoi of England had also been tested positive, but has since recovered. “Hi guys, as you may be aware I had the virus for the last couple of days, which I’ve recovered from,” Hudson-Odoi said on his social media channels, “I’m following the health guidelines and self-isolating for the week. I hope to see everybody soon and hopefully be back on the pitch very soon. Take care.”
In response to this news, the Blues closed their training ground and ordered all players to self-isolate, in line with the medical advice.
In Serie A, a number of players have tested positive for COVID-19, the most notable being Juventus centre-back Daniele Rugani. The Italy international was tested positive just after Juventus’ clash behind closed doors against Inter Milan, which consequently prompted Inter to put all games to a standstill. News of this outbreak within the club caused concern among the players, one of which being the Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo, who chose to stay in his hometown Madeira. French midfielder Blaise Matuidi became the second Juventus player to test positive for the virus. The Serie A side stated on March 17 that he was at home self-isolating and not showing any symptoms.
Although players and staff are vulnerable to the virus, football clubs have taken great measures to make sure money is donated to the funding of a vaccine and the proper payment of all staff. Catalan club FC Barcelona have cut all players’ wages by 70%, captain Lionel Messi has confirmed. While also observing quarantine measures, a few teams in Europe are beginning to return to their training ground. Borussia Dortmund have returned to outdoor training. The german club has also opted to begin training players in pairs, as well as donate over 20 million euros to help former teams in Germany’s top flight and pay for the staff’s cut wages.
In this trying time for football, it is a good of a time as ever for clubs to come together. With all leagues barring the Belarus top flight being suspended, who knows what’s in store for club football?