Ten football leagues stalled by Covid-19 pandemic
Monday, June 8th, 2020
While Football Kenya Federation’s decision to cancel the Kenyan Premier League has seen the latter go to court citing lack of consultation and breach of contract, there have been no such troubles for other leagues that have done the same. Here’s are the nations that have taken the painful decision to either cancel or end their seasons midway, writes Gibo Zachary
The Ethiopian Football Federation announced last week that all league competitions in the country are cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The decision was arrived at following a discussion in person and via video conference with all respective parties, including the Ethiopian Premier League.
Following the cancellation, the season has been declared null and void with no promotions or relegations of teams.
Ethiopia will also not have a representative at next year’s CAF Champions League and CAF Confederations Cup.
Mauritius termited their 2019/20 league season following the ravaging coronavirus pandemic.
The league body announced the cancellation last month without declaring a champion.
That means the country will not a representative in the CAF Champions league and Confederation Cup next season.
CAF had written to member associations last month to set a May 5 deadline to decide whether they intend to continue with their domestic season or call a premature end to the campaign.
In Angola, there were just five rounds to play in the 30-game season but a meeting of Girabola clubs resolved not to continue the campaign with no title awarded and no relegation.
The top two, Petro Atletico and Primero de Agosto, will represent the country in the Champions League, with Angola’s higher ranking with the Confederation of African Football (CAF) allowing them to enter two teams.
Petro led the table by three points from Primero, but had also played a game more.
Belgium, which has been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, was the first league in Europe to call off the remainder of its season.
Seventeen of its financially-strapped clubs clamoured for the campaign to be declared over in an open letter to the league.
Runaway league leaders Club Brugge were declared champions but other decisions around promotion and relegation, as well as places in next season’s European club competitions, were referred to a five-man working group.
The league’s plans have been muddied by the failure of Belgium’s government to provide clarity on when sports events might to restart.
Paris St-Germain have been awarded the Ligue 1 title after it was announced the season would not resume because of the coronavirus pandemic.
PSG were 12 points clear at the top of the table, with a game in hand, when French football was suspended indefinitely on 13 March.
Last month, the French government cancelled the 2019-20 sporting season. Lorient have been crowned Ligue 2 champions on the same principle.
They were just one point above Lens when the season was suspended and both teams will be promoted. Amiens and Toulouse will be relegated from Ligue 1.
6. Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso’s football federation last week canceled the 2019/20 football season due to disruptions occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The decision was arrived at after an emergency meeting of the Burkinabé Football Federation on Monday in light of the spread of the deadly virus in a country which has recorded close to 700 cases and killed 46 people.
Taking into account the federation’s pronouncement, no team will be relegated from the country’s top-tier league, the Burkinabé Premier League, which will instead expand to 18 teams given the promotion of two teams from the lower league.
The top two Dutch leagues were abandoned last month with no promotion or relegation.
Just Spee, president of KNVB, said a vote of clubs provided “no clear guidance” and so the decision went to the governing body’s board, but they accepted there would be “winners and losers”.
Ajax led the table from AZ Alkmaar on goal difference with nine games left but will not be named champions.
Both Ajax and AZ Alkmaar will go into the Champions League qualifying stages, pending ratification by Uefa.
No sides will be relegated or promoted, meaning Cambuur - who topped the second tier and held an 11-point gap over the play-off positions - will not go up.
8. DR Congo
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Football Association (FECOFA) decided last week to conclude the 2019/20 football season amid coronavirus crisis.
TP Mazembe were declared champions as they were leading the log with a five-point gap with three games in hand. There were seven more matches to finish the season.
The Cameroon Elite one and Two leagues were cancelled last week amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.
PWD of Bamenda that were topping the top flight were declared champions and will represent Cameroon in next season’s African Champions League competition.
A first, in the club’s history. The note equally implies that Astres of Douala and Yafoot FC have qualified from Elite two into the top flight which will henceforth be played with 20 teams as no side has been relegated from the top flight and second tier championships.
Relegation-threatened Gimnasia, led by Diego Maradona, look set to be saved by the season’s cancellation after Argentina declared its football season over and said there will be no relegation for two seasons due to the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The decision, awaiting official ratification, saw president of the Argentine Football Association (AFA), Claudio Tapia, announcing promotion will continue, although he did not clarify from which divisions.
Argentina’s top league - the Primera Division - finished on the first weekend of March as Boca Juniors were crowned champions on a dramatic final day.