Richard Buxton: Self-serving masters ruining football
Governing bodies' insistence on matches continuing in current climate is farcical
If everyone is ultimately judged on their actions, then football is currently in the gutter.
Covid-19 continues to wreak havoc across the globe, yet the game refuses to be guided by science and instead still follows its self-serving nose, regardless of collateral damage.
This week's international fixtures are not in full flow, but Italy's friendly with Estonia tomorrow morning (Singapore time) has already been plunged into chaos by the pandemic, with the hosts' original 41-man squad decimated to 18 players.
Roberto Mancini will not even be present to oversee his country's opening match nor their Nations League follow-up against Poland after testing positive himself last Friday.
Others plying their trade in Serie A risk missing out on playing for their respective countries with 13 Fiorentina players facing travel restrictions after Jose Callejon was diagnosed with the coronavirus on the same day as Azzurri coach Mancini.
Contagion from the virus now extends to anyone who becomes guilty by association, with England's upcoming Nations League showdown with Iceland under threat due to the visitors taking on Denmark just 72 hours ahead of their Wembley showdown.
Exemptions previously afforded to elite-level footballers no longer apply with the British government imposing sanctions on any non-native visitors returning from Denmark, meaning Erik Hamren's side are not allowed to set foot in the country as things stand.
The ramifications stretch beyond international affairs, too, with no fewer than seven England-based players called up by the Danes facing the prospect of self-isolation.
Similarly, Liverpool's Champions League group stage finale against Midtjylland is in jeopardy with no guarantees that the current restrictions will be relaxed by next month.
Uefa's insistence that England's clash with Iceland will not be postponed on account of increasing fixture congestion means truly hare-brained schemes have come into play.
European football's governing body believe Albania is a suitable neutral venue, while the Three Lions are understood to be pushing for the game to be switched to Germany.
Logic and reason clearly left the room when countries that lie over 1,900km and 900km away respectively from Wembley's doorstep were drawn up as sensible alternatives.
Such chaotic thinking is an indictment of Uefa's stubbornness in refusing to deviate from its blueprint of staging next year's Euro 2020 in its original multi-country format.
Next summer's festival of football, with 12 major cities hosting, has the potential to be a breeding ground for Covid-19 super-spreaders even if a vaccine is readily available.
Inter Milan's CEO Giuseppe Marotta is leading calls for a boycott of international fixtures, but the Champions League is contributing to the rising rate of infections in the sport just as much, if not more, than players being called up by their various homelands.
TEAMS HIT BY COVID-19
Nine positive Covid-19 cases at Dynamo Kiev meant that only 13 of their A-list players travelled for last week's eventual 2-1 Group G defeat by Barcelona.
Another Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk earned a commendable 3-2 away win over Real Madrid in Group B despite missing 10 first-team players, while, in Liverpool's group, Ajax Amsterdam were also forced to omit 11 players from their squad which sealed a 2-1 win over Midtjylland.
Competitive integrity, however, has become a mere afterthought to the game's arbiters.
As far as they remain concerned, the show must go on, even with a threadbare cast list.
Until they see sense, if they ever do, farcical football will mutate quicker than the virus.