The justification that professional footballers should continue to leave their club team bubbles for international breaks during a global pandemic that is increasing exponentially across the world continues to be shown as the farce that it is. One day after Liverpool’s Mohammed Salah was diagnosed with COVID-19 after attending the wedding of his brother, now Tottenham Hotspur’s Son Heung-Min is self-isolating in his hotel room in Austria after four of his South Korean international teammates and a team staffer tested positive for the coronavirus.
Sonny was not one of the four diagnosed players and there are no indications at this time that he himself is positive, but the rest of the team is to undergo another round of testing today, according to the Evening Standard. The results of those tests will determine whether Korea’s scheduled friendly against Mexico today or the upcoming friendly against Qatar on the 17th can proceed.
Here, I’ve got an answer for you: they shouldn’t. No international football should be happening at this time, especially not friendly matches. It’s mind-boggling that there are football executives that think that this is even remotely a good idea. The irony that a COVID cluster is hitting South Korea, one of the countries that domestically has done an amazing job in containing the virus within its borders is not lost on me.
In the meantime, this asinine decision could have massive ramifications for Tottenham moving forward, and that’s just at the micro, Tottenham-centric level. Obviously ANYBODY getting COVID-19 is a bad thing, and with more and more professional footballers getting diagnosed as positive, I want to put my fist through a glass window. Only I won’t, because that would require a trip to the hospital, whose resources are desperately needed for people who are sick with COVID.
Football is one of the rare things that has helped distract me from the fact that I’m living through the worst public health crisis in 100 years in my country, and even football’s continued club play is hanging on a knife’s edge thanks to these insane decisions to spread footballers across Europe to potentially be exposed by new people. I’m so furious.
UPDATE: South Korea’s latest round of tests came back. While Sonny was not one of those who tested positive, two more South Korean players DID test positive, bringing the total positives to seven. However, in their infinite wisdom, apparently the friendly match against Mexico in Austria will continue as planned. I have no words.
Rightback Kim Moon-hwan and forward Na Sang-ho have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the KFA. The two players and five who tested positive yesterday are in quarantine, but the remaining 18 players for Korea are available for Mexico. The game will proceed. It’s official. https://t.co/a633hy9p6E— Steve Han • 한만성 (@realstevescores) November 14, 2020