England is the birthplace of football. The English literally invented the game and wrote a book (countless books, including the official Rules of the Game, actually) about it. This makes it even harder to accept that something as tiny as a virus could sideline England’s own first football league, the English Premier League.
The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has led to the cancellation or postponing of some of the world’s most prestigious sporting events. EPL aside, the UEFA EURO 2020 has also been postponed by a year. Fans of other sports don’t have it any easier either: the NCAA (the US college sports association) has cancelled its March Madness events, the NHL has postponed the rest of its season by at least two weeks, Formula One has cancelled the Australian Grand Prix and has postponed two more, pushing the start of the season out until May. And not even the American sports that have gone global are an option at this point, given the speed at which the virus spreads in their home.
With many sports disappearing from the roster, and most importantly, with the current EPL season suspended, what are we supposed to kill time with while in self-isolation?
Here are some tips on how to survive the football dry spell that’s coming.
For a true fan, football simulators may not be the same – but they are better than nothing, especially since FIFA itself has sanctioned them, too. The FIFA Interactive World Cup (usually referred to as the FIFA eWorld Cup) is a global eSports tournament built around the well-known FIFA video game series by EA Sports – and it’s massive, too. The initial online stages of the tournament allow for more than 1 million players from around the world to play for qualifications – this makes FIFA the biggest eSports game in the world (and a Guinness World Record holder).
Football simulators not your game? Well, there are several other competitive video gaming channels that can be followed, ranging from the “usual suspects” (DotA 2, StarCraft II, and such) to official sports simulators like the eMotoGP, or even the Formula One Esports Series, which has been joined by Red Bull Formula One driver Max Verstappen over the weekend.
Brave football leagues
Instead of a list of football leagues that are shut down by the coronavirus, let’s take a look at those that are still on – for the time being, at least. Even without the Premier League, La Liga, and Serie A, we can find great football on TV.
Argentina seems not to be worried about the coronavirus, deciding not to suspend the matches of the Copa de la Superliga. The matches are played behind closed doors – but at least they are played, offering fans at home (and abroad) a chance to follow their favourite teams (like the Boca Juniors and the Newells Old Boys). Brazil, a nation with a huge love for football, also didn’t stop – fans might be kept out of the stadiums but the players are still on duty. Turkey’s Süper Lig is also still on, and so is the Russian Premier League – it is the only football league that still allows matches to be played in front of a live audience. Because, as the fans of Zenit St Petersburg claim, they are “infected with football”.