Developments in professional sport during the Covid era

The Corona crisis has also had a firm grip on professional sports for almost a year now. Even professional football teams know about Corona’s bizarre case from time to time, resulting in game cancellations. In addition, there is a lack of role models among athletes who are still allowed to train and compete – mainly only in the field of professional football. Yet this zone was reactivated in 2020 after only a short hiatus and continues to operate almost unrestricted. Fans of football clubs in particular are very happy about this, as the appearances of football stars in stadiums – even if only in front of empty stands as part of so-called “ghost matches”- provide a bit of a diversion from the otherwise dreary everyday life. But professional clubs are also suffering, especially from financial losses. To verify if you want to try your luck by betting yourself.

No interruption of professional sport despite confinement

When Germany entered its second lockdown – seen by many as even tougher in the Corona crisis – on November 2, 2020, the professional sports sector was likely to breathe a sigh of relief. Unlike Corona’s first lockdown in spring 2020, competitions have so far been allowed to continue. Public life, including retail, has been paralyzed well beyond January 10, 2021. In the various federal states there will be first eases for schools during the last week of February and hairdressers will be authorized to reopen from March 1, 2021. Leisure and club sports, but also other relaxation in professional sports are not possible at the moment. Nevertheless, the restrictions underway in the Corona crisis are also having an impact on professional sport, especially in economic terms. For professional football clubs, having to play in front of empty stands means a loss of income of several hundred million. Had there been another disruption during Corona’s second lockdown, the losses would have been even higher. The reason is that otherwise the revenues from the TV contracts could not have been realized either. One issue that remains difficult for many clubs, however, is that of ghost games. However, these will likely need to be accepted for some time. The reason for this is the shortage of vaccines, which will continue for weeks, and the still high number of cases in recent days. However, no one can tell if it will stay that way because of the mutations in the virus. Ghost matches will likely need to be accepted by footballers, clubs and fans for some time to come, in order for the game to continue. According to Sporticos – Football Today, even professional football is not immune to game cancellations due to corona, such as the international match between Germany and Ukraine in mid-November. Due to several cases of corona in the Ukrainian team and because Ukraine was unable to field a team capable of playing, it was decided that the canceled duel, which was to take place in Switzerland, would be canceled. The reaction to this has been mixed among the team itself and the fans.

It’s time to lead by example

With the lockdown extended beyond January 10, 2021 and the associated new postponement for recreational and club sports relaxation, more and more criticism has since emerged as to whether professional sport makes sense or should continue. The criticism is not only directed against the football field. While it is not possible for fans to travel around Europe by plane, for example for international matches or to take part in the European Cup, criticism is also growing. More and more, those in charge of professional sport are demanding to lead by example. Many fans are now also criticizing professional footballers for kissing after a game or immediately after scoring a goal – something not everyone is recommended in times of a pandemic. In recent weeks, another point of criticism has been added: footballers’ well-fitting hairstyles or seemingly fresh-cut and dyed hair, while hairdressers in Germany had to close their doors to the public in mid-December.

The mood of the fans has therefore become a bit more critical in terms of tolerating behavior that does not comply with Corona’s rules. This has also been recognized by those responsible for professional sport, who now find it more problematic to make the public understand that professional sport is completely risk-free. This is shown by the most frequent cases of corona in single teams. Nevertheless, it is true that professional sport is currently the only open cultural space and the only one which can distract a little from the dreary daily routine. Nonetheless, Corona’s offenses are now somewhat bitterly resented by many fans. However, those responsible for professional sport are obviously not interested in leading by example.

Sara R. Cicero