November 10, 2020

Sports Canceled: 2020 Had A Time Out

Sports Canceled

Honestly, I can never get enough of sports-related articles. Even when the title starts with the words „Sports Canceled“. But I did have plenty of sports-related posts before, that’s true. Posts for all kinds of sports. From football and basketball to tennis, wrestling, golf and ski jumping. In fact, I’ve had lots and lots of posts about golf. As I probably mentioned in some of them, it’s a pretty boring sport. But surprisingly there are a bunch of great movies about it. Who’d thought?

What About All The Sports Canceled?

As you can probably tell by now, we at IndieGala are doing a series of posts about the impact of the global pandemic on several of the industries. The film industry, the TV industry, and now on the sports industry. Hence the sports canceled in the title. What is canceled in the world of sports, and about the things that are not… how are they changing?

Well, there are some changes indeed but they’re not universal and vary from country to country. And from sport to sport as well. Disclaimer: In interest of time and efficiency, I’m going to focus on the the best and most famous sports. And on the the biggest, most famous sporting events. I can’t cover them all understandably. As you’ll find yourself stuck on this post, for about 45 minutes. So, with that in mind. Let’s begin, shall we?

Sports Canceled

Football Got Canceled As Well

Football got postponed, and then canceled, but I’ll get to that in a second. As expected all domestic matches in the respective football leagues were postponed in early March. Starting with Serie A matches on March 9th, and then La Liga followed on March 12th.  By March 15h, the only active football league was the one in Belarus. And since resuming of matches in all the European leagues, each and every game is played without audience.

Also, according to the new rules, every single one of the players and other team members must get a COVID-19 before the game. It’s mandatory for all. However, of all the football leagues in Europe, Germany’s Bundesliga was first to resume matches on May 16th. Plenty of other leagues around Europe followed and Spain’s La Liga returned on June 11th. While English Premier League returned on June 17th and the Italian Serie A on June 20th.

But trouble loomed after the league matches resumed. For instance, On 4 October 2020, Italian club Napoli decided not to travel to Turin to play a Serie A match against Juventus, as two of their players tested positive for COVID-19 along with a staff member. Later on, Juventus were awarded a 3–0 win, and Napoli were deducted 1 point by the Disciplinary Commission as punishment for violating the COVID-19 protocol and not attending the match.

Sports Canceled

Champions League Has New Rules Too

But on the brighter side, the 2019/2020 season of the Champions League in football got us brand new champions. The Bayern Munich football team. Indeed, the Bavarian team reach the final and then grabbed the title. While staying undefeated in every stage of the tournament. Impressive isn’t it? Yeah, I’m not a Bayern fan, but that was impressive nonetheless.

How about now? In the brand new season of Champions League? With coronavirus cases on the rise in the football world (with one of the game’s biggest stars Cristiano Ronaldo having fallen victim), UEFA has put measures in place to ensure that its premier club competition can proceed on schedule. Matches can go ahead if each team has at least 13 fit players, including a goalkeeper. Also there are new rules on pretty much everything. For instance if there are travel restrictions in place for a host city, a game can be played at the away venue, or even at a neutral venue. Not to mention, that though most football leagues have continued to host matches behind closed doors, UEFA has allowed 30% occupancy of stadiums for Champions League matches. Although the final decision lies with the local authorities.

Nadal

Tennis Is Not Exempt Either

Much like with every other sport on the planet, tennis has been affected by the global Voronavirus pandemic as well. So, because of the pandemic, plenty of tournaments are now canceled or postponed. First and foremost, the oldest and the most prestigious tournament, Wimbledon is officially pushed to July 11th, 2021.

While the Roland Garros tournament has a brand new starting date. Due to to the COVID-19 pandemic it was first moved to 20 September to 4 October then later moved back a week further to 27 September to 11 October. Rafael Nadal won the men’s singles title for the 13th time (his 20th Grand Slam title), after he defeated Novak Djokovic in the final. Iga Świątek won the women’s singles title after defeating Sofia Kenin in the final. 

Many professionals live from paycheck to paycheck (like you and me). And the effect of the pandemic really hit them hard too. But back in May a GBP 4.81million Player Relief Programme was set up for these players. It helps about 800 financially vulnerable players. All thanks to ATP, WTA, ITF and the four grand slam tournaments of course. So, there’s hope for plenty of talents out there.

Adria

Novak And The Coronavirus

But even the most prestigious players are apparently victims of the Coronavirus. I suppose you remember the ill-fated Adria Tour organized by Novak Djokovic. Well, thanks to the wild parties and group gatherings on the tour, Novak and plenty of other players contracted the virus. And exposed plenty more to the Coronavirus as well. Hey, even the tennis legend Goran Ivanisevic (Novak’s coach) tested positive too.

Sports Canceled: NBA Got Short(y)

In total, 82 NBA season games got the boot in the 2019/2020 season. However all games that survived, took place in the NBA Bubble. And LA Lakers were crowned as NBA champions. But to go back to the NBA bubble, well It’s a type of special isolation zone for NBA operations, and every team has to play there. However, the new 2020/2021 season that was supposed to start on October 21st, is starting on December 22 st, 2020. And will last until June of 2021 (aka the time for the Finals), so, for all the NBA fans out there… here’s some piece of good news.

  • Sports Canceled

Wait For The Olympics In 2021

The Summer Olympics that is. Originally scheduled the period between 24 July and 9 August 2020, the Tokyo Olympics got the same treatment too. Indeed. The biggest sporting event on the planet got the the same status, and it’s officially starting on July 23rd 2021. Solely because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

And it’s safe to assume that the organizers, or the athletes are not really happy with this decision. Tokyo and the entire Japanese government spent a lot of money for the summer Olympics. A lot. Not to mention, the cost of delaying the Summer Olympics by one year will be 640.8 billion yen (US$5.8 billion). Of course, taking into account maintenance expenditures for the unused facilities that are already there and waiting for action.

But what about the athletes that were taking part in the Summer Olympics? Well, they’ll have to add one full year to the hard training and hope that they don’t lose motivation for 2021. But it’s not the first time that the summer Olympics has been canceled before. Well, since the introduction of the modern Olympics that is. First postponement was in 1916, during WW1 and then in 1940 and 1940 during WW2. So, it’s not an unprecedented event, but this is the first time that happens because of a global pandemic. Not because of global war.

Tokyo 2021

Sports Canceled: Speaking Of The Olympics…

One other (and arguably rather different) Olympics is coming too but in about 2 years. The Winter Olympics in 2022. The set up date for the Winter Olympics is February 2022 in Beijing- the capital of China. So, understandably the world is hoping that this Coronavirus nightmare will be over by then. One can only hope. And hope for the best case scenario.

What’s Your Favorite Sports Event?

And of course, which sport are you most sad about in these dark times? Were you looking forward to the summer Olympics as I was? Or maybe the sports leagues around the world are your forte? Tell us in the comment section below. We’d love to know all about them.

Cecily Strong Snl GIF by Saturday Night Live

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