Most of Europe shuts down football – for now

One by one, as the number of coronavirus cases multiplied, European American football nations shut down operations Thursday.

The announcements came rolling in throughout the day, March 12. Austria had already announced that teams would play in front of few or no spectators and Italy which was scheduled to start this past weekend along with Spain and Ireland had already announced a suspension of all games and activities. Then, with COVID-19 seemingly spreading unchecked throughout Europe and the world, Holland, Portugal, Belgium, as well as Denmark, Norway and Finland (whose seasons have not started the season yet) and France all announced a halt to games and practices, some for a couple of weeks and others until further notice. The Austrian Football League amended its original statement implementing a full suspension of all activities.

With fears of what the World Health Organization has now proclaimed to be a pandemic now running rampant, there are still a few countries that have not issued statements suspending play. The British American Football Association as of March 12 is going ahead with the Women’s Sapphire finals although the website states that decisions regarding precautions against the coronavirus are being reviewed on a daily basis in consultation with the British health authorities.

As of March 12, COVID-19 cases were confirmed in over 100 countries. More than 120,000 people have been sickened and more than 4,600 have died of the coronavirus since the start of January, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) and figures from governments and health officials.

American Football International will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as they come in.

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