Experts are frantically trying to get to grips with the deadly coronavirus that threatens to potentially have a big impact on the health of thousands of people. And as China, the country of its origin, struggles to cope with the outbreak, the powerbrokers that run the Chinese Super League (CSL) have postponed all football.
The CSL was all set for the big kick-off (it was ready to run from February 22 to October 31) when news of the coronavirus outbreak surfaced. Within days it was clear that day-to-day life in China — and possibly beyond — would be disrupted. It didn’t’ take too long before the CSL decision makers called time on a suspension of the kick-off.
The CSL has grown year on year since its inception back in 2004 and the mega-wages that have been on offer to some of the game’s biggest names has meant an increased profile for the league across the planet.
It’s not so much the fact that, for instance, Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao FC won the title last season (that was the eighth time that they have snared the crown) but more about the leading names in the game who have gone to China to cash in on the lucrative pay days.
Brazil striker Hulk, who turns out for Shanghai SIPG, and former Manchester United and Everton ace Marouane Fellaini — now plying his trade at Shandong Luneng Taishan — are just two of the biggest stars in the league at present. But they will not get a chance to play this term… for a while at least.
The decision to call a halt to proceedings came from the suits within the China Football Association. Informing reporters of the news, it was said that said their decision to postpone the 2020 season national football competitions at all levels
“was taken to help with the prevention and control of the pneumonia epidemic of the new coronavirus infection, and to protect the health of the majority of fans, media, players, coaches, game officials, clubs as well as district staff.”
Coronavirus cases across China have reached 10,000 and over 100 cases have been reported outside the country with more than 20 countries dealing with what is suspected to be outbreaks of the disease. The amount of people to fatally succumb to the virus is beyond the figure of 200.
Meanwhile, it has emerged that Spurs failed with a last-gasp bid to capture Guangzhou R&F ace Eran Zahavi on loan before the transfer deadline closed. The Israeli attacker, who is aged 32, was seen as a short-term fix to replace the insured England marksman Harry Kane. But a deal could not be forced through in time and the player will now have to wait to discover when exactly he can resume playing in China. It is thought it will be weeks, possibly months and some pundits say it may well be cancelled for this year.