In Summary
  • The number of confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide has surged past 4.5 million
  • It is important to note that some countries have suspended their respective leagues, and awarded trophies and points
  • My take is that defending champions Bandari Football Club be allowed to keep the trophy and enjoy the benefits that come with it

It is no longer a secret that the novel coronavirus, which had killed more than 307,000 people globally as of Sunday, has affected global sports.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide has surged past 4.5 million. In the wake major sports activities have either been cancelled or postponed.

The most significant one was the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games that was pushed to July next year. Governments around the globe and the World Health Organization are burning the midnight oil as they work to combat the pandemic so that people can return to their normal lives. Sports enthusiasts are anxiously waiting for a return of their favourite games.

Locally, the Kenyan Premier League title was handed to Gor Mahia by Football Kenya Federation (FKF). Gor’s name was forwarded to the Confederation of African Football (Caf) for continental football next season. However, the decision to suspend the league has been temporary been halted by the Sports Disputes Tribunal (SDT).

Internationally, the Euro 2020 has been put back to 2021, while the Euro 2020 play-offs, which were due to be played in March, were also postponed.

Also postponed were the 2021 Uefa Under-21 European Championship, while the women’s European Championship which was scheduled to be held in England in 2021, has been moved to July 2022.

All Champions League and Europa League fixtures were suspended until further notice while the English Premier League and Uefa have underlined their determination to complete the 2019-20 season, mostly behind closed doors. It is important to note that some countries have suspended their respective leagues, and awarded trophies and points. Cases in point are France, Netherlands and Belgium.

Though this has been praised and castigated in equal measure, experts believe it was the best way forward in the face of the pandemic.

The million dollar question is what happens in the case of Cup ties for example our locale FKF Betway Cup?

My take is that defending champions Bandari Football Club be allowed to keep the trophy and enjoy the benefits that come with it. This will automatically mean they become the country's flagbearers in the Caf Confederations Cup.

France's top-flight season was halted and after a meeting, Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP) Chief Executive Officer Didier Quillot confirmed that the Parisiens were handed the title on the basis of points-per-game. I, therefore, don't see anything strange in cancelling the Betway Cup competition which was in its round of 16. Luckily for Bandari, they were still in contention. I foresee a scenario where the FKF may be unable to allocate time to complete the Cup ties. Giving Bandari the nod would be justified, owing to the fact that they did well in this season’s continental assignment.

ponyango@ke.nationmedia.com