Void leagues rather than wait to second-guess coronavirus

Saturday March 21 2020

 

By Moses Banturaki

I suspect Liverpool fans aren’t particularly tickled by those calling for the English football season to be declared “null and void.”
But it’s foreseeable that an extension of its current suspension beyond April 4 will be sought, and by the time you read this, an emergency meeting that was held on Thursday will have decided if it should just be an extension or a voiding.
Everywhere else sporting events continue to be deferred. Here at home, the league is off and Caf has suspended Chan and Afcon qualifiers, while countries like Kenya – whose reaction to the pandemic has been uncharacteristically intense.
It’s mayhem everywhere.

Yet when this whole coronavirus started late last year as a distant rumour from China, we treated it as such. Why not? Germs appear and disappear, some within the villages that birth them while others at our shores. But there is a certain missionary and universal instinct to this one.

Now we know that it doesn’t have an alarming fatality rate, but its very high infectivity means it will catch everyone very quickly unless we undergo some changes.
And such changes must include appreciating that a crowd is a buffet for a virus looking to broadcast itself. Of course, sport will be among the biggest victim of these changes.
The disruption will be major and vast. Remember this was already a crowded summer, with Euros and Tokyo Olympics. The latter is desperately clinging to hope, but the former has already moved on to 2021 to create room for domestic leagues to run out their course.

The question at this stage would be; will the situation allow for a resumption of the leagues?
The clever people in lab coats say the thing hasn’t even peaked and that before the precautions fans must take at public gatherings, whole squads could fall under its spell, making it practically impossible to play on.
Already Chelsea and Arsenal have reported single cases. Valencia says 35% of its squad has tested positive, while stories out of Italy aren’t flattering at all.

In such circumstance, I suspect that authorities are going to start thinking about the aftermath. No one knows what it will be like, but in a battle between concluding leagues and anticipating the long-term impact of this pandemic to entire livelihoods, it is clear to me what will come out on top of priority list
Liverpool fans can turn away now, but the truth is that we are faced with circumstances that dictate football and any other sport for that matter, take a back seat. There simply isn’t enough room in which to pack the pile of postponed events as well as efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
Void the sports and deal with that fall out of that, rather than wait to second-guess a virus that has so far followed through on every threat to throw humanity back to World War era calamity.

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