There’s seldom any news in the last few months that hasn’t been linked to the impact Covid has had. It seems industries, public and private institutions, even sport, has had to succumb to the changes needed to protect ourselves, and those most most vulnerable around us. This has meant changes in the way we interact not only with each other, but the manner in which we enjoy even the simplest of times like watching and betting on the Premier League.
At the time of writing this article, 10 players have been found to test positive for Covid-19 in the latest report submitted to the Premier League. Genoa alone has reported over 15 cases between members and staff.
How can the Premier League prevent any further positive cases? Quite frankly, it can’t. Clubs have the responsibility of ensuring their teams are taking the necessary precautions to prevent contamination in the first place, and the inevitable spread.
Clubs have been warned that no less than 14 players are to be available and able to play their fixture. Failure to do the above could mean points deduction or another punishment deemed fit by an independent panel.
How Does The Above Impact The Premier League?
- As it stands, and for the foreseeable future, spectators cannot attend. All matches are to be played behind closed doors, only allowing for up to 300 key individuals.
- Stadiums will be divided to limit interaction. In order to respect social distancing practices the stadiums will be divided into 3 zones – the pitch and surrounding technical areas, the stands and the stand concourses.
- Teams are allowed to make up to five substitutions instead of just 3. Teams can also name nine substitutes instead of seven.
- Handshakes are not permitted. Players will be staggered onto the pitch along with staff. All the necessary cleaning measures will be taken on areas that are prone to be made contact with such as corner flags, match ball, boards and so on.
- Particular attention will be given to areas which are frequently made contact with by various players or team members.
- Teams and their staff have all been educated on how to better prevent spread and given medical protocols to follow in line with COVID-19 prevention measures.
- Press conferences are conducted virtually, and post-match broadcast interviews will take place pitchside.
It seems therefore it’ll be some time before things return back to normal, or at least this is as much as we could hope for. The current wave of ambiguity and uncertainty that has resulted from this pandemic, doesn’t seem to be anywhere near behind us. As football fans, we ask that you take all of the necessary precautions, to come together and to live healthily so that we can collectively start to enjoy the game we love, all together once again.