Football Is Not Costa Coffee!!!! By Dan Smith
Since March, many have debated whether it is safe, practical and morally correct to resume football?
France, Holland and Belgium were quick to implement the new guidelines and void their seasons. Don’t assume that because Germany, Spain, Italy and England plan to do the opposite it’s safe.
Just ask yourself which Leagues make the most money and they are? That’s correct, La Liga, The Premiership, Serie A and the Bundesliga. Is that a coincidence?
I have heard many though who feel that because other non-essential companies are opening from June 15th proves that football is right to prepare for the same time frame.
The casual argument I hear is; if a person who works in a coffee shop has to return to work why should a sports person be any different? The difference is that every employer has the responsibility of creating a safe working environment and will need to prove they are following the new guidelines.
Who knows how long things will be different, but for a while we all might have to adapt?
That’s where Football is the exception, it has rules set in stone which have lasted decades. Second to Rugby it’s the hardest sport to play when your country’s objective is to respect social distancing. Tennis, Golf, Cricket, etc can all be played without participants having to make contact, football you can’t.
I don’t want any business to go bust. It breaks my heart to think of empty stadiums in 2021, or that campaign being delayed leads to Arsenal being in financial trouble. The image of the sport would be in danger if, as predicted, several EFL sides go into administration without match day revenue. Yet I simply can’t, for the sake of money, ignore people’s welfare.
You see, you can go to a pub but not go to the bar. A waiter (wearing a mask) will come to your table, where you are sat in a way which respects social distancing. You will only be allowed to pay with a card.
You could go to McDonald’s but you are encouraged to use their drive through. You could go to the cinema, just not sit directly next to each other. Planes are considering leaving middle seats empty. All of those can make simple changes which are easy to implement to avoid contact. Football can’t do that.
They can, for PR purposes, make it look like they are trying, but what’s the point of subs protecting faces, pitches being disinfected, banning celebrations, etc if you can then pull each other’s shirts and jump all over each other, sweating on top of one another, at every corner and free kick.
If set pieces are safe, then why have all these precautions when going to other establishments?
If I watch a contact sport that tells me that this virus is no longer a danger, yet when I go to Costa I am told to sit away from that person, try to take away, and no cash allowed, while a huge glass screen separates me from the staff.
This week lots of people have been getting on their soap boxes that Boris Johnson refuses to sack Dominic Cummings for breaching lockdown regulations (the same public, thousands of whom went to the beach on bank holiday weekend ignoring every protocol put in place).
To me the government have already showed their true colours by letting a sport carry on, simply because of how much revenue it makes this country. That’s morally a bigger deal compared to if he sacks his advisor or not, especially if a player gets seriously ill or worse. They haven’t cared about players concerns, the further workload it puts on police and medical personnel, or that League 1 and 2 clubs can’t afford to self-test their squads and need some support.
Again, how can a contact sport be safe, but making a builder a cup of tea is not allowed because we must avoid …. contact?
The other day I went to my local shop. I had got to the milk aisle but had forgotten the cheese, yet the only way to go back was to disobey the arrows on the floor. So out of respect I asked the shop assistant how should I play this? She said I wasn’t allowed to go back as the idea of the signs was to minimise the risk of infection (to go back around I could brush against those in the queue). I joked (at this point thinking she was) that technically I should pay for my shop, go out of the building and come back in, hence go back around? She informed me the government guidelines is one shop a day.
I had a final solution. Could she get me the cheese? In no uncertain terms she said that was high risk. The juice wasn’t worth the squeeze, so I just paid for my milk.
Yet as I sat at home without my cheese sandwich, I wondered why, according to the guidelines, it wasn’t safe for me to walk back to the cheese aisle, but it is okay for a football match to go ahead?