Playing sports during the COVID-19 pandemic has been a massive challenge for the governing bodies that have to organize it all over the world. Sports leagues in many countries have been attempting, to varying degrees of success, to restart play.
This started in the United States with the National Women’s Soccer League and in Europe with the German soccer league. So far, the return to play has been successful. There have been very few cases in European soccer, and in the US, the sports that were able to use a bubble system had almost no problems.
The issues started to arise when Major League Baseball attempted to return to play. However, despite many early postponements, they were able to complete a shortened season.
Due to the success of the early efforts to return to play, it is not surprising that many sports governing bodies around the world are pushing their luck. In the US, the NFL has been allowing fans at games wherever possible, and the NBA has even discussed having fans at their games when the upcoming season begins in late December.
It is incredibly reckless of these leagues to allow fans at their games. As the spread of coronavirus reaches terrifying new heights every day, the NFL is putting their fans in danger by continuing to allow them to attend games. In addition, the idea that the NBA is going to attempt to have fans in their indoor arenas shows a reckless disregard for the health and safety of the fans they profess to love so much.
In Europe, soccer’s governing bodies are trying their luck by attempting to play international matches. Each countries’ individual leagues have reported very few COVID cases since play resumed around Europe in May. However, over the past few weeks, more players have tested positive as countries have been attempting to play international matches.
They are taking players that play in leagues all across the continent and putting them together to play against other, similarly formed groups. Players are then sent back to their clubs to rejoin their other teammates who have been all over the world. This has had predictable results. COVID is running wild in multiple national team camps, and those players are bringing it back to their clubs, ruining the good work that has been done over the past few months to limit the spread.
As we head towards winter, the pandemic is only getting worse. Case numbers are going up all over the world. Sports leagues have to be okay with not playing as many games as physically possible. They have to be aware that if they continue to tempt fate the way they are doing now, leagues will have to be shut down again.
The bottom line is that the only way for sports leagues to continue to play is to be extremely careful and to not try their luck. There need to be fewer games and less travel, otherwise, leagues could face a fatal loss of revenue.
Will Cunningham is a sophomore studying journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Want to talk to Will? Tweet him @willocunningham.