Sports especially bring tens of thousands of spectators together in a single location. Infections have been around long before. Yet the impact of infectious disease and sport on a large scale is a rare phenomenon. Indian Premier League (IPL) matches are potential spots for possible infections. Though the Ministry of External Affairs is against hosting the IPL 2020, the final decision is left to the organisers. The Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan had “warned” people against taking part in huge gatherings and advised them to avoid crowded places.
Coronavirus death toll in china has reportedly crossed 3,900 mark and more than 100,000 cases have been reported worldwide. It’s glaringlyglobal, no more China problem.
If you get infected, no cricket body, or board entities are going to come to your rescue. Chances are you may get the match tickets easily, even at a paltry price. Though you may be juicily tempted to see your favourite stars/teams in action, you are advised to cheer them through your cosy living -room TVs. Beware!
Though you may take precautions such as avoiding touching your eyes, nose or mouth with your hands, you have no control about the hygiene discipline of the neighbouring spectator. Given the current spread of this virus, the number of cases and death will likely to climb. Don’t panic, but certainly avoid crowded places.
While the symptoms can include a cough, sneeze and fever, how will you identify as to who are having a weakened system? As spectator, will you be focusing on the next person at the stadium or your cricket icon’s heroics? Also, when you see every spectator sporting a mandatory mask, the spectacle would be comic.
Remember, a cough or a sneeze is a common scene in our ambience, and you can do nothing much about it. Even if someone is not showing symptoms like coughing or sneezing, he may still have clinical symptoms like fever.
By the way, what’s the safe distance to keep from an infected person? The World Health Organisation (WHO) advises a distance of at least three feet from the virus-infected person. If an infected person is within a metre, you could inhale the virus through droplets in the air. Can you maintain such distance in the gallery? Reports say that the micro-droplets from sneezing can float further than with coughing in general.
Cancellation of events
European sports and concerts face cancellations for about two months amid the global spread of the virus. Italian government mandated that all of the country’s sporting events be held without fans for at least till the next month. The premiere said that the order was a way of reassuring “responsible behaviour”, adding that banning crowds at sporting events would help “prevent further opportunities of infection.”
Remember, soccer matches in Middleborough, England were cancelled in 1897 due to smallpox, while games in England were postponed in 1965 due to poliovirus. Whether or not the International Olympics Committee will cancel or postpone this year’s Olympic games, is probably the biggest Coronavirus question in the sports world. The iconic start to Tokyo’s 2020 Olympic games is likely to be held without spectators, thanks to “the new war”.
How about IPL 2020? It would be a strange experience for the athletes/players to not have spectators, but such a move could save thousands of lives by not causing another global spread. True, there’s a lot of stake beyond millions in sponsorships and TV money; many people orient their lives towards the brief period.
No huddles and handshakes?
Will players and athletes avoid high-fives and forming strategic ‘huddles’? It’s hard to imagine sports without handshakes, high-fives and sweaty hugs. Can you officially ban pre- and post- game handshakes among the players? What if a player or an official coughs or sneezes during the play?
Then, there’s the broadcasting aspect to consider. Would crowd-free games sap the excitement of TV broadcasts or actually increase interest? You’ll, perhaps, attract potentially greater TRPs, because there would be fans that are typically in the seats. Will the stands be empty and the stadium eerily quiet? No cheer-girls, no walk-up music. Players in one dug-out could easily hear conversations in the other.
If need be, will IPL be played behind closed doors but only as a contingency plan? This is a game to be played in front of fans. A lot of people watch on TV, but it’s definitely a spectator sport.Yes, the epidemic is staring to wreak havoc with event scheduling and planning. The contagion has people rethinking concerts, vacations, and even getting to work on public transportation.
The larger the crowd, after all, the greater the chance that someone in it will have the virus. If it’s a legitimate thing to be done, do whatever you have to do. But staying off is a wise choice. After all, prevention is better than cure.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of AFTERNOON VOICE and AFTERNOON VOICE does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.