Soccer in Europe during the pandemic

The global pandemic has hit the entire world. Many countries have placed restrictions on travel and movement across Europe. As the Covid-19 virus has spread, the illness has placed fear into the world population. Europe is no different. The countries in the EU have all suffered greatly as a result. Sports have been hit particularly hard. As major events are usually housed in closed environments, with plenty of spectators, bans have been put in place against tournaments. For example, the summer Olympics in Tokyo has been delayed. This was done to stop the spread of the disease. Soccer matches were postponed in Europe during the height of the pandemic. Fans were banned from attending games. Many had to watch their favorite teams play on television.

This summer many soccer leagues were stopped from playing. The governments of the European countries were doing their hardest to stop the spread of the disease. As the Covid virus is transmitted as easily as the flu, large agglomerations of people have been prohibited. Football tournaments are infamous for amassing large groups of spectators. The pandemic has meant that the matches have either been halted, or watched live on a television, or on the internet. The best online betting sites offer live streaming of major sporting events. Thus, fans that could not attend the games in person, streamed the matches onto their computers.

The global health situation has currently improved somewhat, with the authorities allowing certain games to be held. But with safety precautions:

  • Soccer balls have to be disinfected
  • Limitations have been put in place on the number of fans attending
  • Matches have been delayed or cancelled
  • Only elite games are allowed.

This article will discuss the impact that the pandemic has had on European soccer and whether the game has managed to recuperate itself from the disease.

Soccer and the virus

The Covid-19 was declared a health emergency in January 2020 and a pandemic in March 2020. As a result, the situation around the virus has immediately led to Europe imposing restrictions on soccer. For example, matches played in the Champions League and European league were held behind closed doors. Fans were not allowed to attend the games to stop the spread of the disease. The UEFA has immediately begun postponing football tournaments. The cancellations began in February 2020 and have increased all the way to the summer.

The medical authorities in Europe began testing both players and those engaged in the soccer business for the Covid-19 infection. As individuals began testing positive, the authorities started delaying major tournaments. This was done to prevent spectators from getting ill and contain the pandemic. Sometimes an individual can show no symptoms of the illness. Hence a player can be ill and contagious with the virus but not have fever, cough or any other symptoms. Governments in Europe began testing club athletes for the disease and postponing major championships. For example, in March English elite football was delayed for a month because some of the athletes had tested positive for the coronavirus.

Football clubs began losing revenue as a result of the restrictions. Some asked for loans from the government to help stay afloat. Top European soccer clubs have been projected to lose EUR4 billion in revenues, or 8.9% of their total income. The situation looked extremely dire at the height of the epidemic, with many analysts not sure of whether soccer can ever return to normal again. Lockdowns were imposed in many European countries to try and halt the spread of the virus. Football attracts extremely large crowds of spectators, making each tournament a hot zone for the spread of the illness.

Has the situation improved?

During the summer the lockdowns began to pay off. The number of new infections in Europe started to fall. Resultantly, certain matches were allowed by the authorities. For example, in August UEFA Champions League held a few matches in Portugal. Following that, the Germans were also allowed to play citing reduced viral infections in Europe. Although some games are being held right now, there are still restrictions that are in place on fan attendance.

The dire predictions have, thankfully, not fully come true. During the height of the pandemic analysts were predicting immense revenue losses for soccer teams in Europe. Further, it was not clear when the situation will improve. The summer saw a gradual decline in the number of new Covid cases in Europe and thus the loosening of the restrictions. Although certain matches have been held, the disease is taking its hold again in Autumn. Currently in Europe there are new cases of the infection and thus restrictions are being placed again on soccer.

In Northern Ireland bans are in place against spectators viewing matches in large groups. Also all non-elite tournaments have been prohibited by the Executive. The new rounds of restrictions are due to the increase in Covid cases in the region. As a result, only elite soccer teams are allowed to participate in tournaments. Currently fans are let in only in very small numbers and only to the elite games. The new measures put in place are meant to contain the growing threat of the pandemic.

Although the situation with the Covid has drastically improved, European soccer is still not clear of the disease. There are new cases of the illness in Europe and government restrictions on football matches are still in place. It will take time for the epidemic to fully subside. The arrival of the vaccine, which has been promised for the next year, should drastically improve things for European championships.

Sports have been hard hit by the Covid virus. Multiple restrictions have been levied across the world on sporting events. Matches have been delayed and major championships postponed. Despite all the sophistication of the modern world, lockdowns are all that the governments in Europe could invent. There have been cases of famous athletes coming down with the virus and the disease spreading in the sports communities. Although the situation has improved in European soccer, the clubs are still not fully clear of the disease. Hopefully, the coming year will see a lower count of new infections and more football tournaments held on the continent than this year.

AFI
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