20th to 26th April
Although the general news is still very gloomy around Covid-19, we feel the week is closing on a much more positive note than before. There is perhaps a greater sense of optimism that nations around the world may be turning the corner in their fight against the virus. It was particularly good to read that Germany will allow small shops and businesses to open again starting on Monday. The criteria is determined by floor space occupied. Germany and Greece have been streets ahead in their management of the pandemic compared to other nations in Europe. Current restrictions are still in place, especially where any potential social gatherings can occur. Sports events where spectators can attend are therefore still banned. Despite this, there appears to be speculation that governments may begin to allow certain sports events to conclude their seasons, albeit behind closed doors. At this point, any long-suffering fan will take anything, even if the atmosphere will be very different. In England it seems that football matches will resume at the beginning of June and for the prestigious UEFA Champions League, the final is scheduled for August. Experiencing the last two months of cancellations and postponements, we are at this stage reluctant to confirm any dates. Much depends on further progress made to ensure the safety of athletes and eventually spectators.
In rugby union, we learnt on Monday that Augustine Pichot (current vice-chairman) of World Rugby, will contest the top position at the next round of voting. Bill Beaumont, the current chairman, has put his name forward for re-election. In France, President Macron extended the lockdown period further for public gatherings until mid-July, putting Formula One's French Grand Prix as doubtful. The organisers have yet to make a decision on whether races will go ahead without spectators. The biggest race on the cycling calendar is The Tour de France and UCI, the sport's governing body, have agreed to move the event to August. Following that will be Italy's Giro and Spain's Vuelta in a revised calendar. Over in the States, organisers of the US Tennis Open will be making a decision in June whether to go ahead. Once again, playing behind closed doors has been ruled out for now. Perhaps this should become a strong consideration, especially when stringent testing on players participating is a viable option.
We look forward to another edition next week with potentially better news, fewer cancellations, and more confirmed dates for events. Until next time, stay healthy and stay positive.