Tuesday, August 11, 2020

The Coronavirus makes its mark on football

David Nugent in Editorial, General Soccer News, Serie A 11 Mar 2020

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The spread of the Coronavirus worldwide has had a massive knock-on effect on football and sport in general. As to be expect, governments and sporting bodies are erring on the side of caution due to the possible implications on people’s health.

All sport suspended in Italy

Italy seems to have been the worse hit of the European countries when it comes to the illness. The country has been on almost lockdown, with travel restrictions and bans on public gatherings. According to the BBC, 463 people have now died in the country due to the virus. The measures taken by the government are understandable.

On Sunday night, before some of the measures being put in place, two of Italy’s top teams met in Turin, as Juventus beat title rivals Inter 2-0 at the Allianz Stadium. The game was played behind closed doors. In truth, the atmosphere was surreal for one of the biggest games in the Serie A season.

Since the game, all sports have now been suspended. The Italian football federation (FIGC) has suspended Serie A until 3rd April. However, there are now reports that the season may not reach its conclusion. A meeting of the FIGC will take place on 23rd March to decide what to do.

Affecting the whole of Europe

While Italy seems to be the worse hit European country with the virus, there have been confirmed cases throughout Europe. The UK has been hit and this evening’s match between Manchester City and Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium has been postponed.

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola supported the decision and has called for all action to be postponed until there is a solution to the current situation. Many of the big games in European competitions will be played behind closed doors. The big weekend Revierderby derby in Germany between Dortmund and Schalke will also see no fans attend.

Playing behind closed doors seems to be one of only two options. The other game is to postpone the games, as Guardiola amongst others have suggested until a proper solution is discovered.

Football means very little without fans in the stadium. No spectators at the games dilute the game. Watching Juventus v Inter on the television was a strange experience too. There was no atmosphere and it almost felt like a training match, instead of one of the biggest games in the race for the Scudetto.

Sport takes a back seat to life and death

I cannot claim to be an expert on the Coronavirus or anything medical issue, as I am not a doctor, so cannot comment on the severity of the illness. However, what I know for sure is that the measures taken by governments, such as Italy are not taken lightly.

They have medical advisors, who help advise them on these big decisions. The situation is a serious one and some media reports claim that it is only going get worse before it gets better.

In these sorts of situations, we must remember that although we love football, all sport must take a back seat when it comes to life and death. At the end of the day, it is just a game, a beautiful one at times, but a game at the end of the day.

Should football be suspended throughout Europe or played behind closed doors?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Nugent


David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The experienced writer has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.

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