Football faces conundrums due to coronavirus: Richard Buxton
Questions abound after unprecedented disruption to sport's schedule
Times of uncertainty and hardship often catapult football's escapism to the forefront.
But even the Beautiful Game is no longer immune from the state of limbo that engulfs society.
Competitive games are now on indefinite hiatus across most of Europe due to the coronavirus.
A combined 646 matches worldwide were called off last weekend alone because of Covid-19.
Bill Shankly's famous quip that football is more important than life and death has again been brought into sharp focus by the virus' indiscriminate nature.
Several high-profile players and managers have already tested positive for it within a matter of days.
They include Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta and Chelsea midfielder Callum Hudson-Odoi, while players at Everton and Leicester City displayed potential symptoms of the virus before the English Premier League's decision to suspend games until after the first week of April.
Where the self-proclaimed greatest league in the world goes from here remains to be seen.
Myriad scenarios are being actively discussed amid the fear that games become delayed further.
The emphatic end to Liverpool's 30-year wait for a league title threatens to be punctuated by an asterisk if they are awarded it by a mathematical default.
Supporters of Juergen Klopp's side have spent all season with the phrase "tainted title" ringing in their ears from rival fans.
Failure to win it on their own terms, beyond reasonable doubt, would see it echoing for eternity.
Worse still, they may not even have the chance to claim what would be rightfully theirs if the season is declared null and void by an inability to complete the 2019/20 schedule.
That may suit the agendas of clubs intent on seeing the Reds denied the one trophy they have coveted above all others, or in the case of West Ham United vice-chairman Karren Brady, its biggest advocate, a convenient get-out from a season where the Hammers have severely underperformed.
But that brings its own problems, as do proposals to expand the EPL to a 22-team league for one season to facilitate the long-awaited returns of Leeds United and West Bromwich Albion.
Those aiming to seal a place in the top flight through the Championship's play-off route risk being disadvantaged, as no fewer than nine teams are currently in the hunt for the four spots that lead to the £170 million (S$296.7m) windfall awarded to its eventual winner.
Battles for European qualification would also be similarly compromised if the standings after around three-quarters of the season become the final positions for all teams.
Wolverhampton Wanderers and Sheffield United still retain fighting chances of the final continental spot.
Manchester United, too, could argue that they have been unfairly impinged at a time when their recent upturn in form strengthened chances of securing a Champions League place.
Clubs further down the divisions face an existential danger without the ability to rely on match-day revenues if games continue to be cancelled or are played behind closed doors.
Uefa's expected postponement of Euro 2020 until at least December offers a potential outlet for all leagues, not just the EPL and its peers, should the coronavirus be contained.
Football will have to accept its status as a year-round affair; as it was always destined to be.
European football's governing body and Fifa were already hell-bent on compounding an already hectic calendar with rebranded club tournaments from next summer, while Qatar's hosting of the first winter World Cup in 2022 meant further upheaval was inevitable.
Disruption, however, would not be exclusive to organisers.
Players, by nature, are likely to lack the core intensity and motivation that a normal run of fixtures provides. The recent mid-season break has laid bare how damaging a truncated schedule can be for some clubs.
Some medical projections that Covid-19 may not peak until mid-summer mean the prospect of elite-level matches resuming before September appears more inconceivable than first anticipated.
So often the master of its own destiny, football now finds itself at the mercy of mortality.