Coronavirus vs Soccer: The show must go on!


Certainly nobody imagined the impact of novel coronavirus in our life. Since when the Chinese government declared  a state of emergency and put on lockdown the city of Wuhan, something else other than a virus was also spread around the globe. A shadow of uncertainty and fear has changed the world as we know it and continues to keep us apart from our relatives. Our dreams are temporarily paused, watching on TV how it continues to claim lives.

The coronavirus threat has not only resulted in adding new terms like Social Distancing, Quarantine and Isolation to our daily vocabulary but also it has showed us how fragile we are as a society and how exposed our institutions are when facing a global pandemic. It is true almost no one was prepared and for some industries the consequences and expenses are dire. In fact, the world of soccer is one of the most affected since by nature, the sport relies upon social gathering to make the magic happens.

Coronavirus is impacting soccer all over the world in an unprecedented way and of course how you could kick-off a game with 50,000 fans sitting next to each other in a stadium? The pandemic has not only resulted in matches and competitions being suspended across the world, it has also affected players, managers, federations, and all the people who work behind the scenes, from the players who take the pitch to the cashier.

According to the renowned accounting firm KPMG, Europe’s top five football leagues could lose as much as 4 billion euros ($4.33 Billion) in combined revenue if the coronavirus pandemic completely wipes out the rest of the season. The study calculated the total potential match day, broadcasting and commercial revenues set to be generated by the remaining matches in the Premier League, La Liga, German Bundesliga, Italy’s Serie A and France’s Ligue 1.

In the meantime, Major League Soccer continues evaluating the best time to start games again while US Youth Soccer cancelled all regional Championships, National and Presidents Cup, prioritizing the health of players and fans over profits - a move we applaud - but it makes us wonder how much longer is it going to continue affecting our lives? Even after yesterday's events of Chinese authorities lifting Wuhan’s lockdown (after 76 days), it is reasonable to be very cautious and continue monitoring how the epidemic progresses.

With Wuhan reopening businesses, and Europe taking steps to gain control of the pandemic, the future looks bright and makes us believe we will see the light at the end of the tunnel soon. Most of the clubs in the so-called “Big Five” soccer leagues in Europe have had their training facilities fully disinfected, ramping up hygiene measures and the staff advised to wash their hands upon entering and leaving every single room which is good reason to believe live sports may not be far away from returning.

In recent news, The Bundesliga, Germany’s top soccer league, has plans in place for action to resume in early May. While many European leagues are expected to return during summer months, Germany looks like it will be the first major league back in action. Bundesliga CEO Christian Seifert told New York Times that games would return to all 36 stadiums of the first and second division with the season concluding in June.

In times of crisis it is said to bring the best and the worst of a person or a community. There is an overwhelming desire to help join forces in promoting good practices even from quarantine. Hundreds of thousands of school-age kids are now home during the day and there is no soccer practice to go to in the afternoon. Many coaches, players, and influencers are creating innovative ways to keep on motivating these kids eager to return to the pitches and play again this beautiful game.

From the other side, we have professional soccer players raising funds not only to help their countries national health services but also the people behind the scenes working hard at these very same clubs they play for in order to assure their economic stability until operations get reactivated. Initiatives like #PlayersTogether led by Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson help those in the healthcare system fighting for us against coronavirus pandemic. Or actions like Real Madrid CF players who agreed to a temporary pay cut for the rest of the season in an effort to minimize the effects of the negative financial implications of the outbreak on other employees. This week The German Champions League participants announced they will pledge over $22 Million to support struggling Bundesliga clubs. Dortmund, Bayern, Leipzig and Leverkusen will initially forego their share of the national revenue - which has not yet been distributed - from de DFL next season.

Recently Man City Head Coach Pep Guardiola said “If we follow the Game plan We will get through this Together” Solidarity is the key, let’s come together like a community we are and support each other, go through the storm and wait to comes the calm, let’s be ready to play again because the show must go on!.

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