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CoVid and Sports: An uneasy combination

This article explores the impact of COVID-19 on sports.

Purv Ashar

On the 23rd of March 2020, India experienced an extremely unusual situation. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a young, big-hitting batsman or a goal-scoring machine. Instead, something that prevented these from emerging. Obviously, I am talking about the date the lockdown was announced in our country due to a small, villainous character, who shares its name with an American beer company. If I haven’t made it clear enough, I am talking about the Coronavirus.

According to the World Health Organisation’s safety guidelines against the virus, it is advised to stand 1 metre apart, keep away from out-door gatherings and avoid travel. This suddenly put the world at a standstill, but you know that already. You came here for the impact on sport, and that is exactly what you shall get.

When we think of sport, we think of the passionate players, the umpires/referees who have a love-hate relationship with just about everyone, but more importantly, we notice the eager fans present at the games.

First, when lockdown hit, sports came to an immediate halt because most sports require 2 or more players. As sports slowly reopened we saw major changes. Most crucially the cheer from the stadium stands was lost when fans went missing which, a few years ago seemed unimaginable (this will be covered in another article).

Second, games involving international travel had to be discontinued. For example, international cricket halted since borders were sealed making travel impossible - as did European football.

Next, with the lack of fans a major source of income stopped for most players, which led to unemployment. For instance, Premier League club Arsenal had to temporarily suspend their mascot and many of their employees, since they needed to save money, with the promise they would be brought back when fan income continued. This also led to pay-per-views for almost every sport becoming more of a necessity since nobody could watch the game in the stadiums.

Lastly, and this is probably the most significant impact of the virus on sports, major tournaments had to be postponed. Tournaments like Euro 2020 (football) had to be postponed to 2021 with the name still being Euro 2020 so that it maintained its reputation for occurring every four years… (it’s confusing). The most important event in sports, the Olympics had to be postponed. While most are disappointed, some injured athletes now gain an entire year to recover and have a better chance of winning.

In conclusion, although the virus has caused the world skid to a standstill and made 2020 a terrible year, we can triumphantly say we made it through the equivalent of a world war, a war by the name of Coronavirus. While sport has been hit hard, 2021 looks to be a year jam-packed with sport to make up for lost time. All we can do now is look forward to the future!

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