Stoke City’s game at Reading tomorrow is off as sporting fixtures worldwide are falling like skittles because of the coronavirus crisis.
Stoke’s fixtures at home to Middlesbrough next Wednesday and at Wigan three days later have also been postponed as football shuts down until after the international break.
As things stand, Stoke will resume action on Saturday April 4 with a home game against Barnsley, but clearly that remains open to severe doubt.
EFL chiefs met this morning to discuss the escalating crisis as sporting fixtures globally go by the wayside for fear of spreading the coronavirus pandemic.
An announcement is expected shortly, but Sky have already preceded it by saying the decision is made.
This weekend’s games had appeared safe when Prime Minister Boris Johnson gave his Downing Street press conference yesterday.
But then news emerged of the coronavirus striking into the heart of football dressing rooms – with Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta among its victims – and before long both the Premier League and the EFL were calling emergency meetings this morning.
Other sporting fixtures to fall victim today include England’s Test series in Sri Lanka.
This morning’s decision puts a huge squeeze on Stoke’s fixture list with nine games to play ahead of the original final day of the season on May 2.
It now appears certain that the domestic season will have to continue deep into the planned close season and the knock-on effect leaves this summer’s European Championships – with the final planned for Wembley – now in severe danger of being postponed long term.