Daily Briefing

Today’s back pages: five-star Man Utd march on and Euro 2020 could be put back a year

A round-up of the sport headlines from UK newspapers on 13 March

Coronavirus: Euro 2020 to be pushed back?

Newspapers, like governments, are struggling to keep pace with the impact of coronavirus and some of the papers went to press before the news that Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta and Chelsea star Callum Hudson-Odoi had both tested positive for the virus. 

Nonetheless the virus dominates the headlines with i Paper claiming that England’s cricket tour to Sri Lanka is set to be called off. The Independent reports on the cancellation of Sunday’s Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix, which was confirmed after McLaren withdrew.

“We share the disappointment of the sport’s fans that this race cannot go ahead as planned,” said champions Mercedes, one of the teams that had urged organisers to postpone the race. 

“However, the physical and mental health and wellbeing of our team members and of the wider F1 community are our absolute priority.”

Could this summer’s Uefa European Championships also be in jeopardy? The question occupies most of the back pages with The Guardian and the Daily Express forecasting that the tournament will be pushed back a year. 

The Daily Mirror and the Daily Star express “disbelief” that the Premier League has not followed the example of their European counterparts in aborting fixtures. 

However, it is reported that the Premier League will hold an emergency meeting this morning and that could alter the situation.

Coronavirus impact on sport: which events are cancelled, postponed or being played behind closed doors?

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––For analysis of the biggest sport stories - and a concise, balanced take on the week’s news - try The Week magazine. Start your trial today –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Man Utd march on in Europe

On a normal day Manchester United’s 5-0 thrashing of LASK in their Europa League last-16 first leg would dominate the back pages, but these are not normal times and most papers struggle to squeeze in a report of their dominant display. 

The Daily Mirror does with its headline “the...err....crowd pleasers” above a photo of Odion Ighalo celebrating his goal in front of an empty stand. 

The match was played behind closed doors in an attempt by the Austrian government to contain the spread of coronavirus and so United’s latest emphatic victory didn’t get the applause it deserved. 

The Independent and The Times also carry photos of Ighalo celebrating with the empty seats but their win - and the spirited 1-1 draw between Wolves and Olympiakos in Greece - are overshadowed by other events.

Marler banned for ten weeks

The Daily Express and The Times report that England prop Joe Marler has been slapped with a ten-week ban for interfering with the testicles of Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones in last weekend’s Six Nations clash. 

Marler’s England team-mate Manu Tuilagi, who was sent off late on for a dangerous tackle on George North, has been banned for four weeks while Courtney Lawes, also cited for a dangerous tackle, escaped punishment. 

Describing yesterday’s disciplinary hearing in Dublin as “highly unusual” the panel found Marler guilty of “grabbing, twisting or squeezing” Jones by the genitals and banned him until Monday 8 June. 

French prop Mohamed Haouas, who was sent off for punching Scotland flanker Jamie Ritchie in the face, was banned for a surprisingly lenient three weeks. 

The Times says there is “confusion as to what will happen to the bans if the Premiership season is halted due to coronavirus” because World Rugby’s regulations state that each week of a suspension must correspond to a meaningful match.

Today’s sport headlines

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––For analysis of the biggest sport stories - and a concise, balanced take on the week’s news - try The Week magazine. Start your trial today –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Recommended

F1 ‘silly season’ hits top speed as 2023 grid takes shape
Oscar Piastri denied he would be driving for Alpine in 2023
Behind the scenes

F1 ‘silly season’ hits top speed as 2023 grid takes shape

Immunity, Tunisia and Big Brother
Covid vaccine lab
Podcasts

Immunity, Tunisia and Big Brother

How Truss and Sunak would tackle a recession
Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak at a debate
Getting to grips with . . .

How Truss and Sunak would tackle a recession

What next for the UK economy?
Governor of the Bank of England Andrew Bailey faces the media on 4 August 2022
Today’s big question

What next for the UK economy?

Popular articles

Will China invade Taiwan?
Chinese troops on mobile rocket launchers during a parade in Beijing
Fact file

Will China invade Taiwan?

Is World War Three on the cards?
Ukrainian soldiers patrol on the frontline in Zolote, Ukraine
In Depth

Is World War Three on the cards?

Best new TV crime dramas of 2022
Roger Allam and Nancy Carroll in Murder in Provence
In Depth

Best new TV crime dramas of 2022

The Week Footer Banner