Premier League, Champions League call off matches

A staff member wearing a mask inside the empty stadium prior to a football match at the Karaiskakis Stadium in Piraeus, Greece, on Thursday. (AFP)
Short Url
Updated 14 March 2020

Premier League, Champions League call off matches

  • German football league also halts first division Bundesliga games over corona fears

DUSSELDORF, Germany: The Premier League and the Champions League were both suspended on Friday as the chaos stemming from the coronavirus outbreak continues to impact soccer.

Matches in England will be stopped until at least April 3 after five Premier League clubs said some players or staff were in self-isolation. Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has tested positive for the virus, as has Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi.

“I had the virus for the last couple of days, which I’ve recovered from,” Hudson-Odoi said in a video posted on social media. “I’m following the health guidelines and self-isolating myself from everybody for the week. I hope to see everybody soon and hopefully be back on the pitch very soon. Take care.”

UEFA said it was stopping next week’s games in all competitions, including the two remaining Champions League matches which had not been already called off — Bayern Munich vs. Chelsea and Barcelona vs. Napoli, both scheduled for Wednesday.

Games involving Juventus and Real Madrid had already been postponed because those clubs quarantined their players.

The decision from UEFA comes four days ahead of a meeting to decide the European soccer calendar, including the possible one-year postponement of the 2020 European Championship.

Eight Europa League games scheduled for next Thursday were also postponed. The quarterfinal draws in both the Champions League and Europa League, scheduled for next Friday, were postponed as well.

Earlier Friday, Everton said one of its players had reported symptoms consistent with coronavirus. Bournemouth later said reserve goalkeeper Artur Boruc and four members of staff also had symptoms. Leicester said Thursday that three players had “extremely mild illness.”

The suspension in England also covers the Championship, League One, League Two and the top two women’s divisions.

The French league also suspended games Friday. 

The German football league on Friday halted first division Bundesliga games with immediate effect over the pandemic, the first such suspension since World War II.

“Given the developments of today with new coronavirus infections and suspected cases directly linked to the Bundesliga and the 2nd division, the German Football League has decided at short notice to postpone today’s matches,” said the league in a statement.

Soccer in Scotland was also postponed Friday until further notice, hours before a game was due to start. That measure also affects Sunday’s Old Firm match between Glasgow rivals Rangers and Celtic. Domestic games in Wales and Northern Ireland are also off.

Four places in the 24-nation lineup for Euro 2020 still have to be decided in playoffs scheduled for March 26 and 31. Those playoffs seem unlikely to be played on time.

The Euro 2020 tournament was expected to be played in 12 host nations. 

The plan requires teams, fans and officials to travel across the continent — an added risk to spread the virus.

After more than half of the host nations suspended their domestic leagues, or will play without spectators, Russia said it was willing to take on extra European Championship games on top of its current allotment of four in St. Petersburg.


‘Water bottle’ weights lift Abu Dhabi athletes to world record

Updated 03 June 2020

‘Water bottle’ weights lift Abu Dhabi athletes to world record

  • Researchers, students claim Guinness World Record with novel training approach

DUBAI: Using water bottles and school bags full of books as weights helped two Abu Dhabi athletes clinch a Guinness World Record (GWR) in a gruelling physical challenge. 

Eva Clarke and Brandon Chin Loy competed as part of a mixed team to complete 12,502 chest to ground burpees in a 24-hour period, more than double the minimum requirement.

The group, including students from an Abu Dhabi university, attempted the record on May 3 and were told they had succeeded on May 27, the same day some members of the team graduated. 

Clarke, a fitness trainer and mother of three who holds a string of Guinness World Records, told Arab News on Monday that taking part in the latest attempt was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

“We started training for this relay event before the lockdown and when the pandemic happened, we thought we had to make the event unique, so we continued to train on Zoom,” she said.

Clarke, who led the fitness classes, held up to 50 workout sessions during the 12-week lockdown, sometimes starting as early as 4:30 a.m.

“Since I had to continue training without access to weights, I made my own by carrying six-packs of water bottles and encouraged the group to do that as well. I am going to miss the online training,” she added.

Clarke’s previous 12 records included most pullups in one hour (female), 12 hours, and 24 hours, equivalent. She also holds titles for the most knuckle pushups in one minute (female), one hour, and 24 hours equivalent, as well as most burpees in 24 hours (female), and 12 hours, most chest to ground pushup burpees in 24 hours (female), and one minute. 

Clarke also completed the fastest marathon carrying a 40 lb. backpack (female) in the 2015 London Marathon.

The burpee, or squat thrust, is a full-body exercise used in strength training and aerobics. The movement is performed in four steps, known as the “four-count burpee.”

The team was joined by two witnesses during their record attempt through a live conference call. 

“For us, the pandemic is no time to turn into a couch potato. Instead, the team challenged each other to double down on their efforts, even if our gym sessions are on hold and we are separated from our teammates,” said Daniel Gill, assistant director of wellness at a UAE university, in a statement by GWR on Sunday.

Brandon Chin Loy, a computer engineering senior at an Abu Dhabi university who broke his first world record, told Arab News on Monday that he set the event as a goal for himself. 

“I trained under Eva, and it was crazy training which used to start at 4:30 a.m.,” he said.

The team trained six times a week and completed 500 burpees an hour along with other cardio exercises, he said.

“We had to get creative with weights, so I packed books in a bag and carried that,” said Chin Loy.

Team member Ivan Camponogara, a researcher in movement science, said: “Coming face to face with physical challenges never seems to deter me. I take on each adversity with a determined mindset and a will to succeed.” 

Shaddy Gaad, senior marketing manager at GWR’s MENA office, said: “They adapted quickly to our newly launched Remote Adjudication service, where we received their application, adjudicated it online, and presented them with the certificate in a chain video.”

Tereza Petrovicova, who celebrated her university graduation and a Guinness World Record on the same day, said: “This cannot be a better day for us. We thank Guinness World Records for accepting remote adjudication. This online feature creates two measures of accountability, and we did not want to be left behind the eight ball.”

Anna Erdi, who also graduated with a degree in psychology, said: “Mind and body are linked together. All it takes is just one decision to change your attitude 180 degrees. Once that decision is taken, normal will be different. It will not be the same normal, but it can be a better normal.”

Related