Keeping the Ball Rolling! How Football is Returning During Lockdown

Culture

A last-minute corner. The score tied. The chants of the fans growing and growing around you as everyone's eyes are glued - mesmerised by the black-and-white ball on the field in front of them as if possessed. Your chest can hardly hold in your hammering heart as you watch the players' movements: a quick flick of the foot, a skilfull manouever, scrambing defenders - and it's all leading up to the moment when finally, FINALLY the striker's foot hits the ball into the back of the net.

The crowd goes wild.

GOALLL!

There's nothing quite like live sport.

It can be enchanting, frustrating and exhilarating all at once. Yet the UK has been without live football for many weeks now, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but now this is all set to change with the government's 'phase three' guidance. Here's what's happening:

Bundesliga

While most of Europe's top football leagues have not yet restarted (Spain's La Liga is set to restart on 8 June) there is one that has - Germany's Bundesliga. On 16 May, this top league restarted with the Revierderby - Borussia Dortmund vs Shalke 04.

Of course, no fans are allowed in the stadium, with only a total of 213 players and staff allowed on the grounds, but one club has found a way to get around this problem. Borussia Mönchengladbach is using cardboard cut-outs to create an audience - and fans can even have a cut-out of themselves placed in the crowds for €19! This way, fans can still revel in spotting themselves on TV.

There are, of course, measures in place to try and safeguard against COVID-19, including disenfecting and testing. The players will be tested the day before the game (so once a week), or twice a week if they have midweek games. A quarantine period of 14 days before returning to training has been established for any player testing positive and the people they have come into contact with. Clubs will also be visited by medical officials without any prior warning, in order to make sure they're complying with the guidelines set in place.

Countless football-depraved fans who didn't really follow German football before have flocked to BT Sport to enjoy in finally being able to watch some live games. In the hunt to find out which Bundesliga team you should support if this is your first time tuning in to the German league, there are a wealth of articles to explore and quizzes to take (in one 'What Bundesliga Team Should You Support' quiz I did I got Bayern Leverkusen!).

Premier League

It's back! The Premier League is set to restart on 17 June with the first games being Aston Villa vs Sheffield United and Manchester City vs Arsenal. These will be the first of 92 games left to play after games were suspended.

Before play was suspended Liverpool were only 6 points away from securing their first league title in 30 years, and it seemed inevitable that they would get it. The Reds fans can now forget fears of the season becoming void and rejoice, as with games resuming they only need 2 wins (or possibly even 1 if Man City lose) to secure the title.

Players and staff are routinely tested for coronavirus. Currently, if a player tests positive they are isolated for a week. Then, further tests are done, but regardless the player cannot return to training until 14 days are over. Here are the figures released by the Premier League on their website:

17-18 May - 748 tested, with six testing positive from three clubs.

19-22 May - 996 tested, with two testing positive from two clubs.

25-26 May - 1,008 tested, with four testing positive from two club.

28-29 May - 1130 tested, zero have tested positive.

Games will be held behind closed doors, and some 'key games' will take place at neutral venues. Of course, the atmosphere of an empty stadium just isn't the same as a stadium packed full of cheering fans - here's an interesting possible solution!

However, there are some key decisions to be made about the league's return, such as about the no. of subs each team are allowed, VAR, and the multi-ball system. Clubs are not all on the same page before Thursday's crucial meeting of club executives.

Other events

La Liga (Spain) - will resume on 8 June.

Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 (France) - will not resume. Paris St Germain have been awarded the Ligue 1 title.

Eredivisie (The Netherlands) - will not resume; abandoned. No promotion, relegation or champion.

EFL Championship (England) - will resume on 20 June.

Serie A (Italy) - will resume on 20 June.

Last thoughts...

What do you think? Tell us in the comments below!

Urbi Modhura
5,000+ pageviews

Urbi is a British teen who loves making music, playing chess, reading her favourite novels and comics, watching TV, following sports, food, and writing (though you expected the last one, didn't you?). Urbi is really excited to share her articles with you and hopes that you'll enjoy them as much as she enjoyed writing them!