AC Milan’s Finnish midfielder, Nora Heroum, will be temporarily deferred to Finland before returning home to Milan.
This is due to the lack of available flights to Italy, as Greece suspended flights to the country in the wake of the ongoing coronavirus crisis. Heroum was in the country for the annual Cyprus Cup. The tournament recently wrapped up play on March 11th. Nora then left Cyprus and was temporarily deferred to Finland for further assessment. She, and the other Finnish players who are based in Italy, have been recalled to the country to be tested by the Finnish team’s doctors. This will be done as a preventative measure to prevent an outbreak of the virus in the camp.
She has confirmed, however, that she will be coming back to Italy.
The measures implemented by the Finnish FA and other countries are justifiable. Italy has been the country hardest hit by the pandemic, outside of China.
To date, the country has recorded 17,660 cases of the virus, along with 1,266 deaths.
The crisis has gotten so bad that the WHO recently declared it a pandemic. I too also called it a pandemic about six days before then.
I now wish more than ever that I was completely wrong about this.
‘Stranger In A Strange Land’
In addition to the previously mentioned countries, Portugal has also instituted its own policies to effectively combat the virus.
They too have also suspended flights to Italy. The ban came into effect on Wednesday. That day was also meant to be the final of the Algarve Cup.
Countries like Italy and Norway were participating in the tournament but had to do so without players from AC Milan.
Portugal also implemented its ‘no-fly’ policy to Italy within a span of 48 hours. This led to a logistical headache for the FIGC, as they had to work around the clock, in order to bring the women back to the country.
The women of Italy also found themselves temporarily stranded in Portugal as well. Eventually, they were allowed to fly back home.
The #Azzurre en route back to #Italy early after forfeiting the #AlgarveCup final— Italy (@azzurri) March 11, 2020
The #FIGC and #government took urgent action after the Portuguese authorities blocked all flights to and from Italy pic.twitter.com/uky6y9gqDp
The ordeal was no doubt, absolutely harrowing for the Azzurre. In light of this, it’s perhaps a good thing that none of the Rossonere participated in the tournament.
Despite the fact that the Milan Women were missing from their respective squads for the competition, the team did release a few of their players for international duty. Pamela Begič and Dominika Čonč were allowed to leave Milan and join Slovenia for their Euro 2021 qualifier against Kosovo. They won the match 3-0.
However, just like Nora, they too might be deferred to another country before heading back to Italy. In their case, they would be sent back to Slovenia.
With this in mind, Milan’s decision to keep most of their players at home has been absolutely justified.
A Virus That Knows No Bounds
Rugani, however, wants everyone to know he’ll be just fine. He will no doubt receive the best treatment available in order to combat the infectious pathogen.
The contagion has affected other sports as well. The NBA recently suspended the rest of their season after one of their players tested positive for the virus (Rudy Gobert). Other leagues soon followed suit and suspended play. This includes La Liga, the MLS, the Primeira Liga, and the Eredivisie,
The NHL has suspended their league as well, and the MLB has rescheduled their opening day to two weeks from now.
Non-sporting celebrities have also been caught up in the virus’ snare. Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson have recently admitted that they tested positive for the pathogen. The fact of which is proof that all of us, no matter who we are, are vulnerable to the illness.
This is all the more reason why we should be more vigilant in order to prevent ourselves from getting sick. One of the ways to do so is to put a temporary hold on mass gatherings, chief among them being sporting events. As much as we all miss being entertained by our favorite teams (or in Milan’s case, being absolutely tortured by them), we should realize that this is a crisis of the highest order.
Sports are usually a diversion that have helped us get through a time of crisis. They can provide the necessary distractions we need to escape our daily lives.
However, when the distractions themselves no longer become distracting, and when the real world breaches that sense of security, it’s time to put them on hold.
As Cristiana Girelli said, ‘Normalcy will return’. We just have to wait it out until then.