Professional football restarts as restrictions continue to be implemented.
By Mary-Anne Desai
This article is exclusive to the Online Edition 7 of VARSITY News.
The 17th of June marks an important day for all football fans across the globe. The English Premier League will once again connect people with entertaining football through innocent tackles, incredible saves and impressive goals. Life under Covid-19 has never looked better.
It was announced on the 30th May, that the English Premier League could officially operate again under the country’s strict health and safety conditions. These conditions are part of the English government’s stage three guidelines which were published by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) who have had numerous consultations with medical officials and other professional sport governing bodies.
The fixtures were released on the 7th June which meant that although the Premier League will start running again with all your favourite football stars including Marcus Rashford, Mohamed Salah, Sergio Aguero and Tammy Abraham, this may not be the same football that you remember.
Have you ever watched soccer without the roaring sounds of the fans, the incredible chanting atmosphere, along with the insane dedication to sit and watch in the pouring rain? Due to the pandemic’s circumstances this unfortunately will not be happening any time soon. Fans are to remain home with their TV’s blasting and their expensive football shirts on but for no player or club to see.
Clubs will play with no physical support from their local fans which according to some statistics, may impact some results on the score board and add pressure to the referee. But don’t fear, virtual viewing parties will be near and if you want to take it further, cardboard cut-outs have been the new rage. These photographic fans will have the luxury of every football fans dream.
The League will continue with no handshakes, no sharing of water bottles, no spitting and making hand sanitizer a must before and after each game. There will be no assistants when a ball is lost. Spare balls will remain around the field if one is lost during a game. The coin toss and VAR will still be broadcasted but no crowd noise will be heard. This includes the loss of phenomenal celebrations. Goals will not be the same but a celebration camera will frequently be played for your viewing pleasure. This means no running and hugging each other after a job well done. For those wanting a more vibrant experience, fans will be able to activate EA Sports Atmosphere Audios.
To make sure your favourite players remain safe, the Premier League has undergone many tests within each club on a regular basis. They also provide online test results of numbers regarding the positive Covid-19 cases and total tested. Recently, on the 11th to the 12th June, they tested 1 200 players and club staff, which only two tested positive. The EPL will continue to make the safety of every individual a priority and wants fans to do the same.
Proposals for some broadcasters to include free-to-air channels on YouTube and Amazon Prime for those without mainstream sports channels are still being discussed, however Fans will be able to watch the Premier league on broadcasters like SuperSport, eTV and for the international readers, Sky Sports and BT Sports. Fans are encouraged to stay safe during this time as well as promoting the advice received from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Kingdom National Health Service (NHS).
Matches go live with Aston Villa against Sheffield United at 19:00 & Manchester City against Arsenal.