Life After Lockdown: Athletes to play in empty venues while sports fans follow from a distance

Luisa Morales - Philstar.com
Life After Lockdown: Athletes to play in empty venues while sports fans follow from a distance

Philstar.com's Life After Lockdown is a compendium of references on Filipinos' shift to a new normalcy during a coronavirus pandemic.

MANILA, Philippines — The timetable is still uncertain for major sporting events in the country and across the world as countries continue to grapple with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

But when the time comes for live sports to return, it may not look like what we are used to seeing before.

The coronavirus has brought the sports world to its knees, paralyzing almost every organized sporting event around the globe. Its impact will last long after the imminent threat of the virus disappears.

What will happen: When organized sports returns, there will likely be a lot of changes to the way it is conducted.

  • For starters, fans will probably not be allowed in the venues until 2021 at the earliest. Players will need to adjust to playing without an audience present in the venues.
  • In a poll conducted with some 700 participants from the United States, almost three out of four sports fans said they won't be going to live games without a coronavirus vaccine — even if health officials decide to let spectators back into the arenas.
  • Once fans return, they will also need to follow stricter guidelines like social distancing and wearing face masks.
  • Pre-game rituals that involve physical contact may also be restricted for the players themselves like handshakes, spitting on the turf, and anything else that involves bodily fluids like sweat.
  • A player's interaction with his/her fans may also be restricted, with both parties required to practice social distancing. Giving away used jerseys may also be an issue.

Returning to the norm for organized sports will probably take a lot of time, with leagues easing into going back into what they have been doing before.

– In South Korea and Taiwan, sports is slowly making its way back after the virus was controlled. However, events are still held behind closed doors.
– Other leagues, including the NBA, are also mulling this setup to finish their season without fans.
– Closed-door games will most probably be fan-free for the time being

Bottom-line: It will take some time before sports can return to what it was before the coronavirus. Once it does, it may not be the same as before with the health crisis prompting many changes in the way both players and fans deal with the games.







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