COVID-19 and sport


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Kevin Farnell

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If I wanted professional football I went to Walsall at Fellows Park if memory serves, a division 3 or 4 team. The quality was missing but they probably had other things on their minds!
Fellows Park. That brings back memories! I used to go there a lot with my Dad and we always stood at the railway end (the number of balls that went over onto the railway line was quite impressive) and had a cup of hot Bovril at half time. I can remember going to the last ever game at Fellows Park and unusually at half time we moved from the railway end to the stand at the opposite end of the ground. Looking on line, the last league game was 1st May 1990, but there was a testimonial game for Peter Hart played 10 days later. My memory deserts me on which game we went to.
I can remember asking to go with my Dad when I was very young, to be told that there was a wall you have to look over. I imagined my Dad (who was 6ft2) standing on tip-toes trying to watch the game, When I finally got to go the wall turned out to be 18-24 inches high.
I've also, twice been on TV at fellows park. Back when Match Of The Day covered games from League 1 through to 4. The first time, I'd bumped into one of my school friends at the match and we were standing just behind the above mentioned wall at the corner. A corner was taken and me and my friend were shown immediately behind the player. The second time was also on MOTD, but I was standing further back with my Dad.
I seem to recall that shortly after the last game, the roof of one of the stands collapsed. Sadly, the site is now a supermarket. I always liked the name 'Fellows Park'.
Moving on to Bescot Stadium, I went there a lot too. As Jenny says, it doesn't have the atmosphere of Fellows Park, but does have the advantage of having a railway station right next to it.
One funny memory from Bescot (now Banks's) stadium, is that when an extra tier was added to the eastern stand it gave fans a view over the western stand to the M6 motorway. Whenever one of those lorries painted like a friesian cow went past, a huge 'MOOOOO!' would echo around the ground. What the away fans at the other end made of it, I have no idea. Probable not a good indicator of the quality of the football though.

Happy memories!

Kevin
 

jfy1999

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I can't personally confirm but a rumour is going round that matches will be on terrestrial TV, which I think is a good idea. Given that we've seen parties being thrown during lockdown, I can all too easily see a few diehard fans being tempted to arrange meetings at the houses of people who have Sky/BT, if those are the only channels showing the football live.
 

TheLocalYokel

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I can't personally confirm but a rumour is going round that matches will be on terrestrial TV, which I think is a good idea. Given that we've seen parties being thrown during lockdown, I can all too easily see a few diehard fans being tempted to arrange meetings at the houses of people who have Sky/BT, if those are the only channels showing the football live.
I think that's been one of the major worries - fans congregating in houses to watch matches. I don't know whether that's happened in Germany yet.

It might not with the Premier League until the end of the season when vital relegation matches are settled, and imagine the possibiity of groups gathering for the match that might win Liverpool the title.
 

TheLocalYokel

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The potential start date for county cricket has been pushed back yet again - this time until 1 August although there is hope that England might be able to take on the West Indies on 8 July. A small number of spectators might be permitted if the professional game does commence this summer.

The ECB will thrash out a scenario for county cricket should it take place at all this year that might involve a form of regional competition.

There is a posisbility that local club cricket might begin playing before 1 August.
 

JENNYJET

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Might it be possible to limit spectators to members of the host counties for tests this allowing a reasonable distance to be observed amongst those attending? I understand not good for general spectators and receipts will be hit but ECB can deal with that over time as things recover and TV could be opened up to terrestrial etc.?
 

TheLocalYokel

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Might it be possible to limit spectators to members of the host counties for tests this allowing a reasonable distance to be observed amongst those attending? I understand not good for general spectators and receipts will be hit but ECB can deal with that over time as things recover and TV could be opened up to terrestrial etc.?
I think the ECB is hoping that a limited number of spectators might be possible if the West Indies test series does get under way in July. I read that they will or are thinking about hosting the three test matches at Southampton (one) and Old Trafford (two) because they have onsite hotels which would make it easier to isolate the members of both sides.
 

TheLocalYokel

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The Premier League resumes this evening and the Championship at the weekend. All matches will be 'behind closed doors'.

Leagues One and Two have ended their seasons. Both tables will be decided on points per game, with the play-offs still to take place to decide the additional promotion places.
 

Kevin Farnell

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I've been watching some Premier League highlights on YouTube and although the stadiums are obvioulsy empty, there is the sound of the crowd in the background (example Liverpool v Crystal Palace on SkySports YouTube channel). I'm guessing that this is dubbed onto the video rather than being played over loudspeakers in the stadium, as a huge roar goes up when a goal is scored. Either way, I find it a bit ridiculous.

Kevin
 

TheLocalYokel

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I've been watching some Premier League highlights on YouTube and although the stadiums are obvioulsy empty, there is the sound of the crowd in the background (example Liverpool v Crystal Palace on SkySports YouTube channel). I'm guessing that this is dubbed onto the video rather than being played over loudspeakers in the stadium, as a huge roar goes up when a goal is scored. Either way, I find it a bit ridiculous.

Kevin
It is dubbed onto the sound track. There is an option to watch without this sound track when all that can be heard are the shouts from players and coaches.

I don't have Sky and have been watching either on BBC1/2 or on Freeview Channel 11 in my area. With the BBC the Red Button allows me to remove the canned crowd noise but I can't find a way to do it with Freeview. I say watching. That's a bit of an exaggeration. I have an 'office' at home and usually 'watch' the football out of the corner of my eye on a tv screen whilst working on my desk top computer.

The crowd noise soundtrack is slightly behind the play so when a goal is scored the 'crowd' (aka the sound mixer) takes a second or so to realise before it cheers.

Crowd-free tv football is better than nothing at all but I can't rid myself of the notion that I'm watching a practice match. At top matches the crowd is such an important element of the whole.
 

TheLocalYokel

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Watford are in a fierce battle to avoid relegation from the Premier League and, if that wasn't bad enough for the club and its fans, they have had to leave out three players for today's match against Southampton (which Watford lost) because it's been reported that the players in question contravened lockdown rules on Friday.

One of the players is said to have celebrated a birthday and threw a party at his home at which around 20 guests attended, including two other Watford players.

It's said that the matter came to light following pictures being posted on a social media site.

If this is all true the players' actions show irresponsibility and disrespect to the club (their employer) and its supporters of the worst kind.
 

Brummiegem

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I totally agree Mr Yokel.
However,this is not that much different to the behaviour of Liverpool fans for 2 nights running.Only difference is the huge numbers involved.
Total disregard for social distancing,and each other’s personal space.It makes you wonder if there’s is a spike in Covid-19 cases in the city of Liverpool and the surrounding areas,whether the government will get the blame.
Let’s be honest,we all know that if our chosen team or sports stars won a major honour or competition,we would be just as excited.Would we all flock to the city centre to celebrate knowing full well that in doing so could put ourselves or others at risk of an infection or virus?

Slightly off topic,but similar theme,hundreds of mainly teenagers flocked to Birmingham city centre on Sunday afternoon to see a so-called you tube star.
The Primark store was closed early as many of these people tried to enter the store en masse.
My point is the total lack of responsibility and respect for others,including themselves and their loved ones in getting involved in these gatherings.
No matter what your political point of view,this is something you cannot blame the government for.Every individual has a responsibility for themselves and those around them.

Leicester could be the first city to have restrictions enforced or even be locked down again.
Sadly,I think we could all face a further lock down if people continue to behave in the way that they are.
It is my belief that in the year 2020, the British people have become ungovernable.
 

Brummiegem

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Meanwhile,in the tennis world we have seen two tournaments happen recently.
The first organised by Novak Djokovic,and played in Serbia and Croatia has ended in a number of players and Novak’s own coach falling ill with Covid-19 symptoms.
The other organised by Jamie Murray and played in the U.K., seems to have passed off with no major incidents.
The tournaments were organised so players could get much needed matches under their belts.With the U.S. open still scheduled to take place next month,more mini tournaments will probably be organised between now and then.
It remains to be seen whether any of the U.K players will test positive for symptoms of the dreaded virus,but it does seem that there were differences in the organisation of the two tournaments,
What is clear,there is still a risk and threat of picking up Covid symptoms,no matter what precautions are put in place.
I just hope that every governing body in sport and in the wider society are taking notes on the outcomes of the various events now going ahead, and that swift action is carried out if further covid cases appear.
Like everybody,I want sport and normal life to come back.We must not become complacent though,care and thought must go into bringing events back.The public too must also wait there turn.If we bring too much back too soon,it could disastrous for everyone.
 

TheLocalYokel

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I totally agree Mr Yokel.
However,this is not that much different to the behaviour of Liverpool fans for 2 nights running.Only difference is the huge numbers involved.
Absolutely ridiculous behaviour by those Liverpool supporters involved (or for that matter by the many thousands who cram onto beaches or take part in marches/demonstrations), but the difference here is that these men are players and employees of the club. They should not be doing anything deliberately that can put into question their fitness to play. Not only that, they are supposed to be role models for the many younger fans who will believe that if it's all right for the players to disregard government guidelines it's all right for them too.

If what has been alleged is true I hope that the club takes the strongest possible disciplinary action against them.
 
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