As the world comes back to life with economies re-opening around the world, professional sports leagues have also begun the slow and steady process of getting the ball rolling.
In case you missed it, here’s a summary:
German Bundesliga – successful early return
The German Bundesliga was the first of the major European football leagues to get out of the starting blocks, returning to action on the weekend of 16 -17 May 2020.
Games were played behind-closed-doors with just 300 people – including players, referees, coaching staff, and media – allowed in the stadium. Anyone entering the arena was subject to a questionnaire and temperature testing, while only those taking to the field were able to ignore social distancing and face mask requirements.
Other soccer leagues and sports competitions have been watching the resumption with a keen eye, eager to see how the safety measures designed to protect players, officials and operational staff were implemented and how effective they would be.
The media itself was also subject to restrictions in terms of numbers, while post-match interviews were carried out virtually. The general perception is that the return of the Bundesliga has been a success – especially for broadcasters who have been starved of live football for weeks.
Football is back with strict Covid-19 rules. Here’s what you need to know:
Disinfected balls, mandatory Covid-19 tests, elbow bumps, and empty seats are now all part of global soccer.
Watch the safety protocols taken by the Bundesliga:
The ratings from the matches are positive, both in Germany and abroad.
It will be a long time before matches are played out in front of a full house but the return of the Bundesliga has provided hope that football can return in some capacity elsewhere in the world.
Said Openfield’s Seseki Itsweng: “Although risky, Bundesliga’s brave return has earned the league new fans along the way and created new hope for other leagues to do so safely and successfully.”
English Premier League Clubs safe return to training
As the most-watched and popular football league in the world, the return to training for their clubs will be under stringent medical precautions.
Premier League clubs will return to non-contact training in small groups, as the league moves into 'step one' of its 'return to training protocol'.
The first step of the system sees players return to collective training, but teams will ensure social distancing is maintained throughout, with contact training not yet permitted.
In a statement, the league said its shareholders had unanimously approved the move into step one of the protocol as it seeks to put processes in place to facilitate a return to play when safe to do so.
The league’s statement said: “This first stage has been agreed in consultation with players, managers, Premier League club doctors, independent experts, and the government.
Premier League clubs voted unanimously for contact training to return, with clubs beginning 'phase two' from 28 May and it is expected that twice-weekly testing will continue. The return to the pitch for the EPL has since been confirmed for 17 June with Manchester City and Arsenal kicking off the restart of the season.
Even so, certain associations have decided to call off their leagues such as Belgium and Scotland, who awarded the titles based on accumulated points up until the date of postponement.
Celtic has been confirmed as Scottish Premiership champions after the division’s 12 clubs agreed to terminate the season early.
In the Belgium league, South African striker Percy Tau has lifted the title with Club Brugge in what will undoubtedly feel like an anticlimactic victory for the former Mamelodi Sundowns star.
As one of the biggest league’s in the world the EPL’s successful return will influence and accelerate the return of other leagues in the near future. There is no doubt that our very own PSL and the rest of the world will be watching with keen anticipation.
Source: Sports Industry Biz
PGA Tour restart: six takeaways before tee-off
The PGA Tour’s restart plan addresses all aspects of an event, from agents and tour players’ families not being allowed on-site to the modification of practice facilities to hand sanitiser being available throughout the grounds. Players can take chartered flights from one event to the next and would be encouraged to stay at hotels that are partnering with the PGA Tour.
Here are six key takeaways of what is in place to bring golf back:
Optics are important
Positive tests will not be disclosed
Fewer people will be in common areas
Help for overseas players is coming
Players should stay inside the bubble of the course
Fans may not be back for a while
We already know that spectators will not be allowed at the Charles Schwab Challenge, the RBC Heritage, Travelers Championship or the Rocket Mortgage Classic. However, the tour made it clear that there is no confirmed date when fans will be back.
“We are not wedded to any specific date,” Andy Pazder from the PGA Tour said. “Obviously it is going to be dependent on local, state and federal regulations that will largely dictate when we are able to resume having some number of fans. I would absolutely anticipate that whenever that occurs, it would initially be on a limited basis to ease ourselves back into having spectators on site.”
To ensure that golf can continue in Covid-19 times, golf has gone back to basics, where pro. players are forced to make their own put and shot decisions as well as carry their golf bags without the help of their trusted caddies.
Source: Golf Week USA Today
On Saturday, 30 May, Sports, Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa briefed the nation as to how South African sport will be affected as the lockdown regulations are eased from 1 June.
Professional contact and non-contact sport sports teams can begin training under Level 3 regulations but it matches won't be able to resume just yet.
Mthethwa also made it clear that the resumption of training will have to be in a controlled manner in order to maintain a safe environment for those involved.
All sports bodies have 14 days to inform the minister in writing as to the date of resumption of training and must provide operational guidelines and a guarantee in the form of affidavits related to the testing of all officials.
Horse racing has been allowed out the starting gates with NHA (National Horseracing Authority) chief executive, Vee Moodley announcing that horseracing in South Africa will resume on 1 June behind-closed-doors under strict guidelines.
Amongst others, some of the rules include, the field sizes will be restricted to 12 runners per race with the exception of all pattern races in which 14 runners will be allowed, jockeys will be restricted to ride in the region of their choice and cannot move in between provinces, horses moving between regions shall not be allowed unless a horse is moving to another province on a permanent basis and any persons with comorbidities shall not be able to attend.
The Vodacom Durban July, Africa’s greatest horse race, has been confirmed for 25 July as a broadcast-only event. The good news in all of this is that the rights holders are working extremely hard to ensure the safety of all parties involved, South Africa is no different. We know that other sporting codes are working in collaboration with the government to ensure that South Africans can also enjoy the local sport in the upcoming weeks.
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