With Liverpool’s players scattering to the winds for international duty the day after the club announced its fourth positive test for Covid-19 — Xherdan Shaqiri joined Kostas Tsimikas, Thiago and Sadio Mané on the list on Monday — and as the pandemic continues to wreak havoc across the globe, some skepticism as to the jurisprudence of continuing the football season, both international and domestic, is natural.
That sort of skepticism, however, appears nowhere in the open letter the Premier League, Football Association, English Football League, Women’s Super League, and Women’s Championship released today, as the executives of the respective leagues make clear their intention to reintroduce fans to the stadiums as soon as possible.
The whole thing can be read here, but in short, it cites the positive role attendance at football matches can have in peoples’ lives as their main motivation, and refer to a dozen reportedly successful test events that have taken place, before listing off a number of safeguards that would be put in place to make sure the coronavirus won’t tear through football fans like it has the rest of the country.
Now, while it is somewhat adorable that the executives in question believe it isn’t painfully transparent that the main driver behind all of this is purely a financial one — European clubs are set to repay in excess of €2 billion to broadcasters for matches not being played on schedule — it is mostly ghoulish. Playing team sports in England right now has been proven to be a bad idea, and adding fans to the mix is makes it a terrible one.
Exactly what a workable solution for this season would be remains unclear — although the unpopular idea of putting everything on hold until a functional vaccine is available should probably be much higher on the list than it is — but gathering thousands of fans in the same venue while treatment is complicated and inoculation is impossible absolutely isn’t it.