27th April to 3rd May
Welcome back to another review of the week and a look ahead at one or two potential scenarios that could unfold for the sporting world. For a few nations, preparations and planning are now beginning to fall in place for some of the restrictions to be lifted and to ease certain sectors back into the business world. We expect schools to be the first to open and probably for a few age groups only. For these nations the number of new coronavirus cases have consistently reduced over the last week. This is bearing in mind the warning by the World Health Organisation for caution against easing restrictions too soon. For many nations there is little choice. Their economies are in dire straits. For the United Kingdom numbers have not really shown an indication of new cases slowing down. Each day has been different with the overall death rate still rising significantly. More importantly and assuming the data received from around the world is fairly accurate, the recovery rate for the UK is far below other nations. The government has come under question for allowing the Cheltenham Festival to go ahead, including the Champions League fixture between Liverpool and Atlético de Madrid. This was after most nations in Europe had begun their quarantine. Cheltenham Festival is a premier UK horse racing event over five days and even though numbers were down in 2020, in 2019 an average of 53,355 people attended each day. That means a big percentage go home at the end of the day on public transport. Over 52,000 fans attended the match at Anfield.
It has been clear leading up to last weekend that nations in Europe were putting plans in place to complete their football seasons. Germany has been far ahead in their management of the pandemic and it is no surprise the Bundesliga will resume on Saturday, 9th May, behind closed doors. This is subject to approval by the German government. Players may also be required to wear face masks. For the Premier League a month later is a more realistic start with the 8th June a potential date. June appears also to be a realistic time for the French Lige 1. However, the Dutch Eredivisie have announced today that their season has been cancelled with no promotion and relegation to take place. The Red Bull Cliff Diving season has been completely cancelled for the year. We feel this to be too soon, but there may have be many factors that influenced the decision. On the other hand, it could be very wise. The Spanish flu outbreak of 1918 also had a significant impact on sport around the world at the time and lasted for two years, with some areas recording a second outbreak. Every situation is different and we do not necessarily have to draw comparisons with the 1920s. What we do feel is important is to accept that we cannot return to the 'old normal', whatever that was for each of us. Too many friends and family have lost loved ones and life should not simply carry on as before. The isolation period has hopefully given everyone a better opportunity to reflect on what is really important, the people in our lives. There are many things we can do without. Even sport for the time being.
We look forward to next week with more news to bring you. Until then, stay healthy and stay positive.