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Is football returning too soon?

This is a very popular debate amongst many football and sports fans alike. The Belarusian Premier League started and has continued as normal, despite Belarus experiencing just under 900 new cases of Covid-19 per day. Meanwhile, in a country with 0 deaths and 0 active cases, the Faroe Islands are underway (as of 9th May) with their football season. The big talking point, however, lies in the English Premier League and the German Bundesliga, as two of the worlds most-watched leagues worldwide.

Covid-free Faroe football kicks off in rare spotlight
Empty stadium in Faroe Islands

The Bundesliga seems all set for its return on 16th May after a two-month absence, with nine matchdays left for fans all around the world who are looking for a good standard of football. The season appears to conclude on June 27th, a month later than planned. Not only is this a time constraint but also a health risk to the players. It seems to me that the restrictions don’t apply to athletes, which is frustrating as they are people too with their own lives. Not only does this feel like they are being forced to put on a show or amuse us in a tough time, but they are putting themselves and their families at risk to do so.

The Bundesliga Is Back! German Football To Restart On May 16
Borussia Dortmund

I read an article a few weeks ago (that I cannot find now but this article lists similar guidelines – that explained all the different restrictions and guidelines for a safe return of the Bundesliga. As much as I love football and I am excited about its eventual return, I couldn’t help but think “Is this really too much?”. It shouldn’t have to be this difficult. If we are needing to put this many restrictions on it, then perhaps we are forcing it too soon. 

It is becoming a joke now in my opinion. It is impossible to socially distance in a sport that requires players to be compact, and tackle… Maybe we need masks or stilts for our players? It’s preposterous. I cannot imagine even Virgil van Dijk successfully stopping anyone in stilts! Cricket has been much more professional in my opinion, with the ECB (English Cricket Board’s) decision to put its national sport on the back burner for a bit, whilst the situation calms down. I find this interesting as cricket itself is one of the easiest sports to social distance – both in the crowd and on the pitch. Because of this, I find it difficult to understand when people are fighting for the return of football, especially when the game requires so much more contact and in closer proximity. 

Liverpool come up with genius way of getting around new wall ...
A free kick with football players bunched together.

I feel that we are not ready for the return of football in either of these countries, and I am still shocked that the Belarusian Premier League has continued – especially with the presence of fans. I don’t know any other leagues or countries that have taken this approach. Most are sacrificing their fans to play behind closed doors, but this is not what sports are about… Football is a release for many people from the stress of everyday life and is just not the same watching on a screen. I will, however, be tuning into the Bundesliga as and when I can, because despite my personal views on this situation, I miss football a lot and life without football is very strange.

Meanwhile, many teams themselves strive on their home support of their fans. Playing to empty stadiums should be a rare punishment, not a regular occurrence just to see out the season. It is not an ideal situation and there probably isn’t an ideal solution. But for me, it is preposterous to continue like this and instead leagues should be postponed until there are no new cases. Football is my love, my passion… But it is not worth infecting others for our entertainment. We are strong and independent: we can find our own ways to entertain ourselves for now.

Andres Iniesta sits alone in empty stadium until 1am - CNN

15 thoughts on “Is football returning too soon?”

  1. As long as they’re tested before and after the event and abide by the new rules there shouldn’t be an issue. I have actually been addicted since it came back! Weird atmosphere but I’m loving it!


    1. It seems that thorough and regular testing is occurring for players and such, and a lot of measures have been taken to ensure its safe return. It has been great having the Bundesliga back but it feels even more amazing now that the Premier League is back too. Will you be watching the PL?


  2. If the team takes a good responsibility to test their health conditions, I think we can return back to our football very soon. The only restriction they have to make is for the audience. I think showing them on air will help avoid crowds swarming in the galleries.

    We are definitely in a whole new world with this issue. Hope to get back to the basics very soon!


    1. It really is a whole new scenario isn’t it? All games are being televised and some of them are being shown on free to air television, which I think is a nice bonus. I hope that keeps people inside and respecting the government and public health guidelines.


  3. I think they have opened up to soon. Here are my arguements in favour of it.

    1. It doesnot matter if the crowd is at the stadium or at your home. One thing we know for sure is that crowd predisposes to COVID19 infection. There us more chances that family and friends come together to view and celebrate football since most of us were confined to our homes and is hunting for excuses to socialize.

    2. The secretions that come out are dangerous. So far, aerosol spreading has not been disproved. Football means a lot of sweat, body fluids and spreading. Thats infection.

    3. The stadiums and all should be put in standby if signs of community transmission are still present in the population.

    4. Football isnt a priority. Its leisure. It can wait.


    1. Football has been rushed back to avoid further financial loss I feel, even though it is leisure and not a priority. It is a priority in view of those controlling it and losing their money.

      You make an interesting point about the gathering of fans at home, I hope this does not happen if it breaks the guidelines. Hopefully free to air matches which I believe have been put in place to avoid this issue, can help reduce the problem.


  4. Not at all. Footballers earn enough to avoid unnecessary contact with others and the lockdown seems to be all but over officially kudos to the recent protests. Also, the precautions being taken by officials make it almost impossible for it to become dangerous. The last I heard, the last round of Premier League players tests results returned with 0 positive cases.


    1. What do you think about players such as Troy Deeney who choose not to train and such? I can understand their reasoning. I think the PL is finally reaching a stage where it is ready for this, I just hope there are no more cases and that is managed well. So far, okay I think. Have you been watching?


  5. It’ll be interesting to see what would happen if a big player or a couple of big players from a team gets Coronavirus. I think it’s a good time to bring it back though. The plan that they have come up with is solid from what I have heard and with the rest of the country slowly getting back to normal, it’s good to see the football leagues doing so as well.


      1. It was an issue in Russia I believe where the first team had to go into quarantine and the opponent didn’t want to postpone the game. They ended up getting thrashed as they had to field youngsters. I’m surprised that it hasn’t been an issue in England.


      2. Oh wow, that is rough for the team. I bet they were not happy at all. It is not fair to them in my opinion. Maybe there is something that we do not know behind the scenes in the English game?


  6. I think sports people who value their own life. They should take the lockdown seriously upto October and avoid any form of sports. You can have other means of the sports but not the one where there are too many people. I don’t see issues with the sports like say tabletennis and others where the people can be less. But the soccer, cricket and others just not safe for both players and the people who go to watch it.


    1. It is impossible to social distance in football, I don’t think this sport should have came back so soon, money definitely influenced it. Cricket, however, doesn’t earn much money and you can social distance easily, but it is not back. This makes me think about the motive behind the return of certain sports.


  7. I think it’s fine that football came back. I believe they are taking the right precautions in regular testing and playing behind closed doors and as long as that is maintained then I don’t see a problem.


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