Football Features

Global league-by-league breakdown of football leagues affected by the coronavirus pandemic

By Chris Smith

Global league-by-league breakdown of football's response to coronavirus so far

Published: 13:00, 6 April 2020

As we now know all too well, coronavirus has brought the world of sport – and in general – to a halt.

League after league has fallen to COVID-19, suspending play with no realistic return date on the horizon, meaning any number of outcomes are now possible this season.

This summer’s European Championships have been postponed until 2021 to help leagues and continental competitions cope with the delayed schedule.

However, as it stands, there are still some leagues carrying on, mostly behind closed doors. What follows is a round-up of the current situation in each region.

UEFA

Still playing

Belarusian Premier League

The Belarus Premier League is currently the only major football division operating in Europe, with matches taking place over the weekend, including BATE’s 1-0 win over Ruh Brest and reigning champions FC Dynamo Brest’ defeat to Slavia Mozyr.

Suspended: Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, German Bundesliga, Ligue 1, Albanian Superliga, Andorran First Division, Armenian Premier League, Austrian Bundesliga, Azerbaijan Premier League, Belgium First Division A, Premier League of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgarian First Professional Football League, Croatian First Football League, Cypriot First Division, Czech First League, Danish Superliga, Estonian Meistriliiga, Finnish Veikkausliiga, Georgian Erovnuli Liga, Gibraltar National League, Greek Super League, Hungarian Nemzeti Bajnokság, Israeli Premier League, Football Superleague of Kosovo, Latvian Higher League, Lithuanian A-League, Luxembourg National Division, Maltese Premier League, Montenegrin First League, Dutch Eredivisie, Macedonian First Football League, Northern Irish Premiership, Polish Ekstraklasa, Portuguese Primeira Liga, League of Ireland Premier Division, Romanian Liga I, Russian Premier League, Sammarinese Football Championship, Scottish Premiership, Serbian Super Liga, Slovak Super Liga, Slovenian PrvaLiga, Swiss Super League, Turkish Super Lig, Ukrainian Premier League, Welsh Premier League

Yet to start: Icelandic Úrvalsdeild Karla, Moldovan National Division, Norwegian Eliteserien (currently postponed), Swedish Allsvenskan

While there are no confirmed reports of when or if Europe’s top divisions will continue, speculation has continued to dominate the headlines. More recently, Bayern Munich chief Karl-Heinz Rummenigge revealed the Bundesliga season will be completed.

The club legend says that all 36 clubs in Germany’s top two tiers have agreed to complete the season when it is safe to do so.

He told Spanish outlet AS: “The 36 clubs have made this decision, even if it should be after June 30.

“Uefa criticised the Belgian championship, in my view justifiably, for declaring the season suspended. In Germany we all agree: the 36 clubs have decided to end the season, even if it should be after 30 June for political or health reasons.

“National leagues have priority over the cups, this was decided by Uefa. As for contracts that expire in June, the market will have to be adapted.

“With Ivan Perisic, Philippe Coutinho and Alvaro Odriozola, we have three players expiring on June 30th.

“If the season continues beyond that date, it is up to FIFA to find a solution that ensures that they can end the league with their respective clubs. Otherwise, competition would be distorted.”

The revelation comes after it was confirmed by Bayern that the club will welcome back players for training on Monday for the first time since the Bundesliga was suspended. The German Football League recommended that clubs should not recommence training sessions until at least April 5. Bayern are now set to hold ‘small group’ training programmes starting from this week.

A club statement read: “The FC Bayern Munich first team will return to training in small groups from Monday, 6 April. This will be done in coordination with government policy and the relevant authorities. It goes without saying that all hygiene regulations will be strictly observed.

“Training will take place with no members of the public present. In order to further slow the spread of the coronavirus, FC Bayern asks fans to continue to follow the instructions of the authorities and therefore please do not come to the FC Bayern training ground.”

In other news, the German FA have issued a soft denial of Kicker’s recent story about the Bundesliga resuming behind closed doors in early May, calling the report a “misleading announcement”.

A statement on DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga’s official Twitter account read: “Misleading message from Kicker: there is no final schedule for the rest of the current season. 

“Everything else would be unrealistic in view of the current situation with a view of the coronavirus. In the DFL general meeting last Tuesday, two conceivable scenarios were adjusted, which are inevitably subject to considerable uncertainties. 

“DFL general manager Christian Seifert also publicly expressed this after the general meeting. The resumption of the game operation is the assessment of the situation by politics and authorities to which the football is of course subordinated. 

“The DFL does not claim any special role for the Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga at a time when stopping the virus is a top priority for society as a whole.”

Elsewhere the Belgian Pro League is set to become the first major European league to be officially cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, with current table-toppers Club Brugge to be declared champions.

An AP report from Saturday also suggests the official start date for Sweden’s top flight of “early June” is seen as optimistic. The new Allsvenskan campaign was suppose to get underway over the weekend but has been pushed back by two months due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The impact of delaying the season could have serious repercussions for teams in the Scandinavian nation, with Helsingborg president Krister Azelius even considering the “future existence” of his club.

He said: “The truth is the effects of the coronavirus have hit us so hard that we have to question our future existence.”

Sweden captain Andreas Granqvist gave an equally bleak outlook of the current landscape in his homeland, stating: “Many clubs are on their knees, waiting for news from various quarters about what help they can get.”

AFC (Asia)

Suspended: Asian Champions League, Australian A-League, Bangladesh Premier League, Bhutan National League, Bahraini Premier League, Brunei Super League, Cambodian League, Chinese Super League, Guam Soccer League, Hong Kong Premier League, Indonesia Liga 1, Persian Gulf Pro League, Iraqi Premier League, Japanese J1 League, Jordan Premier League, South Korean K League 1, Kuwait VIVA Premier League, Kyrgyzstan League, Lebanese Premier League, Liga de Elite, Malaysian Super League, Myanmar National League, Dhivehi Premier League, Pakistan Premier League, Philippines Football league, Qatar Stars League, Saudi Professional League, S.League (Singapore), Sri Lanka Champions League, Syrian Premier League, Thai League T1, UAE Pro-League, Uzbek League, V.League 1, Yemeni League, Ýokary Liga

Yet to start: Afghan Premier League, Taiwan Football Premier League, Indian Super League, Martyr’s Memorial A-Division League (Nepal), Tajikistan Higher League,

CONCACAF

Still playing

Primera División de Nicaragua

Suspended: Concacaf Champions League, Antigua and Barbuda Premier Division, Aruban Division di Honor, Digicel Premier League (Barbados), BFA Senior League, Premier League of Belize, Divishon Honor Bonaire, Campeonato Nacional (Cuba), Cingular Wireless Premier Division (Bermuda), Canadian Premier League, Cayman Island League, Costa Rica Primera División, Curaçao League First Division, Dominica Premier League, Liga Mayor (Dominican Republic), Salvadoran Primera División, French Guiana Honor Division, Guadeloupe Division of Honor, Ligue Haïtienne, Liga Nacional (Honduras), Red Stripe Premier League, Martinique Championnat National, Liga MX (Mexico), Liga Panameña de Fútbol, Topklasse (Suriname), TT Pro League, MLS

Yet to start: Saint Kitts and Nevis Premier Division (recently concluded)

CAF (Africa)

Still playing

Burundi Premier League

Suspended: Girabola (Angola), Benin Premier League, Burkinabé Premier LeagueAlgerian Ligue Professionnelle 1, Botswana Premier League, Cape Verdean football Championships, Central African Republic League, Comoros Premier League, Congo Premier League, Linafoot (DR Congo), Djibouti Premier League, Egyptian Premier League, Eritrean Premier League, Ethiopian Premier League, Gabon Championnat National D1, Ghana Premier League, Guinée Championnat National, Campeonato Nacional da Guiné-Bissau, Kenyan Premier League, Libyan Premier League, Liberian Premier League, Ligue 1 Mauritania, Botola 1 (Morocco), Rwandan Premier League, South Sudan Football Championship, Tunisian Ligue Professionnelle 1, Ugandan Premier League, Zambian Premier League, Zimbabwe Premier Soccer League, Super League of Malawi, Mauritian League, Réunion Premier League, Sierra Leone National Premier League, Somalia League, Premier Soccer League (South Africa), Sudan Premier League, Tanzanian Premier League, Elite One (Cameroon), Nigeria Premier League

Yet to start: Gambian Championnat National D1 (recently concluded),  Ligue 1 (Ivory Coast, recently concluded), Lesotho Premier League (recently concluded), Malien Premiere Division (recently concluded), Namibia Premier League, Senegal Premier League (recently concluded), Togolese Championnat National (recently concluded)

CONMEBOL

Suspended: Primera División (Argentina), Bolivian Primera División, Primera División (Chile), Primera A (Colombia), Serie A (Ecuador), Primera División (Paraguay), Liga 1 (Chile), Primera División (Uruguay), Primera División (Venezuela)

Yet to start: Campeonato Brasileiro Série A (State Championships still continuing)

OFC (Oceania)

Suspended: Tahiti Division Fédérale (French Polynesia), Port Vila Football League (Vanuatu), New Zealand Football Championship, National Football League (Fiji), New Caledonia Division Honneur, Papua New Guinea Overall Championship,

Yet to start: Cook Islands Round Cup, Kiribati National Championship, Samoa National League, Telekom S-League (Solomon Islands, recently concluded), Tonga Major League