Soccer is back with strict COVID-19 rules. Here’s what you need to know

soccer

(Jannik Skorna, Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Kate Whiting, Senior Writer, Formative Content


  • Germany’s Bundesliga has resumed play for the first time in two months.
  • Strict new rules include empty stadiums and COVID-19 testing.
  • South Korea has restarted its K League and other top European leagues are resuming group training.

Disinfected balls, mandatory COVID-19 tests, elbow bumps and empty seats are now all part of global soccer – and the measures were on display as play resumed in Germany’s Bundesliga.

The coronavirus pandemic has forced sport around the world to cease, with the summer Olympics in Tokyo postponed and costing billions in lost tourism and TV revenue.

In the US alone, it’s thought coronavirus has cost the sport industry $2.2 billion in national TV revenue, as of May.

football germany sport league restart ball soccer player social distance play ball foot fifa Coronavirus china virus health healthcare who world health organization disease deaths pandemic epidemic worries concerns Health virus contagious contagion viruses diseases disease lab laboratory doctor health dr nurse medical medicine drugs vaccines vaccinations inoculations technology testing test medicinal biotechnology biotech biology chemistry physics microscope research influenza flu cold common cold bug risk symptomes respiratory china iran italy europe asia america south america north washing hands wash hands coughs sneezes spread spreading precaution precautions health warning covid 19 cov SARS 2019ncov wuhan sarscow wuhanpneumonia  pneumonia outbreak patients unhealthy fatality mortality elderly old elder age serious death deathly deadly
COVID-19’s impact on revenue in the US sports industry.
Image: Statista

As with other industries – from tourism to entertainment – there’s an understandable need to balance restarting and boosting economies, while ensuring it’s done in the safest way possible.

Here’s what soccer is doing to get leagues going again during the time of coronavirus.

Football – but not as we know it

The Bundesliga is the first top-flight European league to resume play since the COVID-19 pandemic sent countries into lockdown. Play was suspended on 13 March.

When the first match kicked off on 16 May, the players and staff had been in quarantine for the week, with regular coronavirus tests, according to the BBC.

Players arrived in several team buses to ensure they could sit far enough apart on the way to the stadium.

Although play itself was normal, there were 30 balls available during the game – all of which had been carefully disinfected. And goal celebrations involved less hugging, and more fist or even boot bumping.

Meanwhile, everyone not on the pitch had to wear a face mask, except for the head coaches – who were exempted so they could shout instructions to the players.

The stands were empty of fans, and it was so quiet as a result that people watching on TV could hear the players talking and the sound of the ball hitting the net.

In total, only 213 people were allowed into the ground, which included media and medics, and everyone had their temperature taken.

Substitutes sat on the benches two metres apart to observe social distancing and wore masks, until they began to warm up. Players coming off the pitch were handed a mask.

Towards a global goal

Germany is not the only country where soccer is kicking off again. South Korea’s K League started matches on 8 May, with strict new emergency measures in place. For example, if a player or member of the coaching staff falls sick with COVID-19 during the season, the team will not play for two weeks.

The Spanish Football Federation and top-flight league LaLiga have agreed on restarting matches in June to conclude the season. Matches will be played every day of the week, but no team can play two matches in the space of 72 hours – and some matches will kick off as late as 11pm in the hot summer months.

No start date is in place yet for Italy’s Serie A league, but Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte gave teams permission to resume training again as of 18 May, along with a raft of other businesses that could open again. Training is restricted to groups of 10 players.

In the UK, the Premier League may resume play on 12 June, and is currently holding discussions on ‘Project Restart’ with the Football Association and government.

“We all agreed that we will only go ahead if it is safe to do so and the health and welfare of players, coaches and staff comes first,” the British Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden told the BBC.

Advertising

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Conditions deteriorating alarmingly in Yemen, warns senior UN official

Young health workforce – a core of effective primary healthcare?

4 key steps to support cross-border payments and digital trade growth

MEPs choose Wiewiórowski to be the EU’s data protection watchdog

EU-wide rules for safety of drones approved by European Parliament

UN spotlights ‘explosive’ obesity rates, hunger in Latin America and Caribbean

Estonian Prime Minister Ratas: Europe is a thought that must become a feeling

UN Mission in Haiti calls on protestors, authorities, to refrain from violence

A Sting Exclusive: “Stronger Cybersecurity for a safer EU against cybercrime and cyber threats”, by MEP Dalli

Protests, violence in Haiti prompts international call for ‘realistic and lasting solutions’ to crisis

Boosting adult learning essential to help people adapt to future of work

How India’s new consumers can contribute to a $6 trillion opportunity

How has tech been used for good in civil society? We asked the experts

Italy’s M.Renzi and Germany’s S. Gabriel veto austerity, ask EU leaders to endorse growth measures

‘The clock is ticking’ on meeting the Sustainable Development Goals, says UN deputy chief

Commission reviews relations with China, proposes 10 actions

‘Deeply concerned.’ WHO officials stress the need for continued vigilance – WHO briefing

Can Pakistan make its energy sector greener, cheaper and more reliable? The government thinks so

How to help companies become global defenders of LGBTI rights

Family-friendly policies benefit all of us. Here are 4 ways to boost them

Can China deal with climate change without the U.S.?

G20 LIVE: “International communities and leaders have great expectations for 2016 G20 summit in Hangzhou China”, Mr Wang Xiaolong, the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s special envoy stresses live from G20 in Antalya Turkey

The ethics of the Medical Technology Civilisation era

2019 ‘a critical year’ for Somali politics and development says Security Council

Eurozone banks are unable to support real economy’s dawning growth

China in My Suburbs

Millions at risk if Syria’s war moves to last redoubt of Idlib, warns senior aid official

Brazil’s hopeless future of science

Eurozone: Negative statistics bring deflation and recession closer

UN makes ‘declaration of digital interdependence’, with release of tech report

Cyber-Risk Assessments: the vaccine for companies in the Fourth Industrial Revolution

EU budget 2020: Commission focuses its proposal on jobs, growth and security

How China’s sponge cities are preparing for sea-level rise

‘Forgotten crisis’ in Cameroon, with attacks on the rise, millions in need of ‘lifesaving assistance’

Paradise islands of Pacific increasingly vulnerable to climate change, as UN boosts resilience

This Brooklyn farm company is training a new generation of urban farmers

Somalia: UN Security Council condemns terrorist attack in which dozens were killed or injured

Mechanism to protect democracy in the EU needed more than ever, says the EP

6 charts that show how Japan’s economy stacks up as it enters a new era

A 550 km-long mass of rotting seaweed is heading for Mexico’s pristine beaches

Everybody against Japan over yen’s devaluation

The Impact of climates changes in health: a problem for all of us

The community and a decent working conditions for the young health workforce

EU to host international donors’ conference for Albania to help with reconstruction after earthquake

DR Congo Ebola outbreak still an international public health concern

Guterres censures terrorist attacks in Nigeria, pledges UN ‘solidarity’

Commission approves emergency measures to protect eastern Baltic cod

What can the private sector do to alleviate the refugee crisis?

The EU’s outermost regions: strengthened partnership bears fruit

TTIP wins Merkel’s endorsement ahead of 2016 tough deadline

Parliament gives green light to EU-Singapore trade and investment protection deals

‘InvestEU’ programme: big boost for jobs, growth and investment

Tax crimes: MEPs want EU financial police force and financial intelligence unit

Why the most important tool in healthcare is trust

Afghanistan: UN mission welcomes new polling dates following election delays

We need to talk about mental health at work, say employees

How universities can become a platform for social change

Migration surge leaves children stranded, begging on Djibouti’s streets

Commission’s action plan: financial world mandatory links to environmental targets

What the future of trust looks like

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s