Coronavirus has wreaked havoc on the world of sport, to such extend that we haven’t seen this kind of disruption in sport since the great wars. Football has been no exception in the sporting calendar as all matches since March have been shelved.
But there’s good news, the sleeping giant in the European sports world is waking!
Football like all sports league will start back at some stage but not as we know it. The easing of government restrictions has enabled players to train in small groups over the past few days, this will be proceeded with matches in late May going forward. But due to social distancing and the lingering Covid-19 virus no fans will be permitted, leaving teams to play in giant empty stadiums.
As Barcelona manager LuisEnrique said – “Playing matches without supporters is sadder than dancing with your sister.”
Teams would be wise not to follow FC Seoul idea of placing sex dolls in empty seats during a recent match played without spectators! The South Koreas professional football league imposed a record fine on the club.
The format for restarting
Germany’s Bundesliga became the first major European football league to restart after the coronavirus shutdown. No fans were allowed obviously, and to adhere to social distancing guidelines, substitutes and coaches are spaced out at a distance on the bench. Goal celebrations have also been banned.
Some ideas to fill the fan void are to attempting to place cardboard cutouts in the stands, as well as create a semblance of atmosphere with crowd noises pumped through PA systems.
The Bundesliga was first back and they will continue in May going forward into the summer.
La Liga chief Javier Tebas has targeted resuming matches from 12 June and promised matches every day for five weeks to complete the season as soon as possible. Some clubs in the top two divisions of Spanish football are back training in groups of up to 10 people.
Over at Serie A, Italian clubs were the given the all-clear to resume training by the Italian government mid May, but matches will not resume until the middle of June. The Italian football federation (FIGC) has set a deadline of August 20th for the completion of the current season, and a September 1st start-date for the following campaign.
In England, some Premier League squads are training in small groups with hopes to restart the season sometime in June.
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