La Liga Suspended for At Least 2 Weeks Due to Coronavirus Outbreak

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistMarch 12, 2020

BARCELONA, SPAIN - OCTOBER 01: A general view of the Camp Nou stadium during the La Liga match between Barcelona and Las Palmas at Camp Nou on October 1, 2017 in Barcelona, Spain. The match is being played with empty stands after the events occured in Catalonia during the voting of a Catalonia independence referendum declared illegal and undemocratic by the Spanish government. (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)
Alex Caparros/Getty Images

La Liga has announced the competition will be suspended for a minimum of two weeks following the outbreak of the coronavirus in Spain.

The top two tiers of Spanish football have followed the country's lower divisions after La Liga confirmed all competitions would be temporarily halted.

On Wednesday, United States President Donald Trump imposed a ban on travel from 26 European countries, including Spain.

Jon Henley and Angela Giuffrida of the Guardian wrote on Wednesday that Spain had recorded a "steep rise" to 2,152 cases of COVID-19, which is second only to Italy among European countries. Spain also had 50 deaths attributed to the disease.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) officially declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic on Wednesday, per Jamie Gumbrecht and Jacqueline Howard of CNN.

La Liga have followed the lead of Italy's top flight, Serie A, in suspending all competition in an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Barcelona lead Real Madrid at the top of La Liga by two points with 11 matches left to play this season. The suspension means the earliest possible date at which the competition can resume—under the current schedule—is on April 5, after an upcoming scheduled international break.

Los Blancos could have temporarily restored a one-point advantage at the top if they had won away at Eibar on Friday evening. However, Real's squad was placed in quarantine after a player from the club's basketball team had tested positive for COVID-19, per ESPN FC's Rodrigo Faez.

A statement from Real read: 

"Real Madrid confirms that a player from our basketball first team has tested positive after tests carried out for coronavirus COVID-19. From this moment, the recommendation has been followed to keep both the basketball first team and the football first team in quarantine, given that the two squads share facilities at Real Madrid City."

The Guardian's Fabrizio Romano predicted the UEFA Champions League clash between Manchester City and Real on Tuesday will also be postponed:

Fabrizio Romano @FabrizioRomano

La Liga: suspended 🔴 Real Madrid: officially in quarantine for 15 days 🔴 Manchester City-Real Madrid and Juventus-OL: no chance 🔴 #Coronavirus https://t.co/LVlNDXUf2x

Delays to La Liga mean it's in some doubt as to whether domestic European campaigns will conclude on time—or at all—this season, with UEFA Euro 2020 scheduled to get under way in June.

The president of Madrid-based outfit Getafe, Angel Torres, said on Tuesday he would not send his players to Italy for their planned UEFA Europa League last-16 meeting with Inter Milan on Thursday.

Torres told El Transistor (h/t Robbie Dunne of AS): "If we lose the tie, then we lose the tie. I won't be the one to assume any sort of risk. We were really hopeful about this game but if it has to be like this, then that's the way it is."

Roma were also due to open their Europa League round-of-16 clash away to Sevilla, but the Giallorossi confirmed on Wednesday that they were refused permission to land in Spain:

AS Roma English @ASRomaEN

🔴Breaking news: #ASRoma will not travel to Spain for the @EuropaLeague match against @SevillaFC_ENG after the plane from Italy was not authorised to land in Spain. More details from UEFA soon. https://t.co/vnVmJLkeRC

Both ties were officially postponed by UEFA on Wednesday.

Spain are scheduled to play international friendlies against Germany in Madrid and the Netherlands in Amsterdam on March 26 and 29, respectively.