The coronavirus pandemic continues to have a major impact across sport, with a huge list of events postponed or suspended indefinitely. All football leagues across Europe has been suspended indefinitely, Euro 2020 and the Tokyo Olympics billed to hold this summer has also been postponed.
With no feasible return dates for football to return, UEFA However remains intent on finishing the Champions League and Europa League seasons before September even if it means playing the remaining games in the competition without spectators.
UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin admitted it will be better for the season to be played behind closed doors than for them to be canceled.
In an interview with ZDF Sportstudio in Germany, Ceferin welcomed the idea of games being played in front of empty stands if measures continue to restrict movement.
“The fact is that we really don’t know much, we are waiting for the development of this terrible situation in the world, and mainly in Europe. Football isn’t the same without fans but it is definitely better to play with fans than without fans.
“It is still better to play the game behind closed doors and have it on TV, which is what the people need and want because it brings positive energy to their homes than not playing at all. That’s what the people want, that brings positive energy.” The president of European football’s governing body said.
Ceferin also suggested that they are working towards plans to resume games from July or August as that will be an achievable target for resumption. “It will be July or August. We can’t play it out in September or October.”
Later on, UEFA disproved this by releasing a contradictory statement saying that there are no plans to wrap the season up in early August and that the president had been misquoted by some outlets while translating his interview with ZDF.
However, playing football games behind closed doors at an unprecedented time like this will become a disaster even though UEFA will carry this out by using only a limited number of stadiums that would help keep numbers of medical and police needed down to a minimum.
Neutral venues would also help avoid home fans turning up outside the stadium, it would also give a massive lift to the football-crazy public that are staying at home.
This masterplan will be to quarantine players, staffs and every other person that will be involved in every matchday, it’s impossible to Quarantine the players in a hotel and let them play behind close doors because It’s not just the players that will participate.. (25 players roster x 12 teams still in the competition = 300 players + however many coaches per team x 12 + however many trainers x 20 + however many sideline staff x 12 x quarter-final, semi-final and the final of the competition).
UEFA are also aware they have to keep TV companies happy because their cash funds a large proportion of the competition. Since these matches must be televised, the media will be involved as well as the referees, groundskeepers maintaining a field, workout facilities and trainers (enough for each team), security, hospitality, culinary staff, etc. This is without factoring in families and any neglected positions (of which there are certainly many).
You need to bed and feed probably 5,000 – 10,000 people on quarantine and you need to hope you’re either stocked full of infection-free goods at the start that will last until the end (unlikely if your staff is demanding high-quality food for your players to maintain nutritional standards, as that requires fresh foods) or that you’re keeping infection out while keeping your supply up to date and also ensure none of your people are breaking the bubble.
It’s still a better plan than a “regular” season being canceled, but it’s not without complication and a high risk of infection getting in by the numbers and clustering. Will require lots of tests too and, I’d hope, support for the little guys that will be dragged along for the ride in case they get sick.
Above all, this violates the rule of social distancing which states that everyone should be avoiding mass gatherings and maintain a distance of about 6 feet from others when possible. It is evident that social distancing is one of the most crucial ways for preventing the spread of this novel virus as it can spread through coughing, sneezing and close contact.
Football is a contact sport and can never be played by minimizing the amount of close contact we have with others, this hereby increases the player’s chances of catching the virus and spreading it to their teammates, opponents, and staff within their proximate sphere of influence.
All it would take is for one of those people to somehow get it and it would likely spread like wildfire. If that were to happen how could you risk spreading that to other players in other games? I’d love to see it but I don’t see how it can safely happen until there is some proven treatment and/or vaccination.
We all want wants to see football resume but it’s better to err on the side of caution. It’s not worth the risk to the players just because we want to see live football competitions this season being completed. We hate lack of no activity but if It’s not safe for fans then it’s not safe for the players too. It’s not just the players either, and even it’s everyone associated with the game.