Coronavirus

Everton spared Olympics disruption as games suspended due to coronavirus

Today’s announcement from Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe confirmed that the 2020 Olympic Games will be postponed due to Covid-19, after Everton forward Richarlison had previously declared his intention to be part of the Brazil squad.

Everton spared Olympics disruption as games suspended due to coronavirus

Everton’s mid-season resurgence under new boss Carlo Ancelotti saw vastly improved performances from a number of key players but few relished life under the new coach more than Richarlison.

The attacking midfielder has been deployed as a striker by the Italian and has formed an impressive partnership with Dominic Calvert-Lewin. Both young forwards had found goal-scoring form in recent months with Richarlison notching four goals in six games at the start of 2020.

Richarlison expected to head to Tokyo with Brazil

Still only 22 the Brazilian was expected to be named in the national side’s squad for the Olympic Games in Japan this summer. As the games’ football tournament is an Under 23s competition it is not aligned with the international football calendar and the final was scheduled for August 8th – the same day that the new Premier League season was due to kick-off.

Despite his inclusive meaning a disrupted pre-season and likelihood of missing the league opener, Richarlison last month underlined his desire to compete for his country:

“It is also important to the club that I play for Brazil and I hope the club understands this. But we will see what happens. Juninho Paulista [Brazil's coach] has already asked me if I want to play [in the Olympics] and I said that if Brazil want me then, of course, I will go and play.”

Ancelotti wanted Richarlison solution

Ancelotti had said in the press that he would try to find a solution that suits all parties but the Toffees boss would have feared that Richarlison’s commitment to Brazil would see Everton begin the 2020/21 season without their star forward.

However the coronavirus pandemic has thrown the entire global sporting calendar into uncertainty with all major leagues now suspended and UEFA forced to postpone Euro 2020 until next summer.

The International Olympics Committee (IOC) had insisted that they were looking at ways of “modifying existing operational plans for the Games to go ahead on 24 July 2020”, as planned. But they were today forced to postpone the event until next year.

The decision is believed to have been taken by Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who intervened due to the continued health threat of Covid-19. The Olympic Games is one of the most iconic international events but as such would have drawn enormous numbers of fans from around the world to Japan.

"I proposed to postpone for about a year and President [of the IOC, Thomas] Bach responded with 100 percent agreement," Shinzo Abe said to reporters earlier today.

The 2020 Olympic Games becomes the latest global sporting event to be postponed due to coronavirus, but this one at least will ensure that Carlo Ancelotti has his best players to pick from when Premier League football finally returns.