Did Football Return Too Soon?
The first half of the year was a truly hard one for football fans. For reasons we all know, sports virtually disappeared from stadiums and TV screens all over the world, with no clear return date at the time. All we heard was “we’ll see” and “depends”, even when the officials of most sports were tentatively planning to resume their respective seasons.
Sports fans, especially football fans, spent week after week on the edge of their seats, with their eyes on the Betway football news and their ears on the radio waiting for the news on when their favourite teams will play again. In mid-May, the first major European football league, Germany’s Bundesliga, resumed its matches. In mid-June, many others followed suit.
Was it a sound decision to bring football back? Was it too soon? Well, there are voices in favour of both arguments.
The forced hiatus cost sports a lot of money. And by a lot, we mean a lot! According to the numbers published in mid-June by The Economist, the English Premier League alone has suffered losses worth £165 million (more than $200 million) this year, most of them coming from lost revenues from TV broadcast rights. Other football leagues suffered similar losses, and the lost revenue is said to have pushed certain football clubs to the brink of bankruptcy. This is one of the reasons why most football leagues – with the notable exception of France’s Ligue 1 – to resume as soon as they had the chance.
In most countries, football is returning without allowing fans into stadiums, for public health reasons. There are exceptions here, too – Hungary is among the few countries that loosened their restrictions enough to allow a limited number of fans to the grandstands.
The players and the staff will have to undergo regular testing, keep their distance, and refrain from celebrating in their traditional ways – think hugs, handshakes, and such.
These measures are, in turn, nowhere near as serious as the ones planned to be taken in the US, where NBA players, for example, are set to be confined to a resort while playing out the rest of the season.
What the people are saying?
Many people across the UK, including those interested in the Premier League, think that it has returned too soon. A survey conducted by YouGov last month has revealed that 48% of the general population (39% of Premier League fans) think it’s too soon, even with all the precautions put in place by the health – and football – authorities. So, did football return too soon? I guess we’ll see, in time.