Covid 19 pandemic has bought human life to a standstill and sports are no exception. Social distancing has been maintained to limit the spread of this deadly virus resulting in cancellation of a lot of sporting events. Stadiums all across have remained closed; trainings of athletes have been stopped due to the coronavirus bringing big questions about sports post coronavirus. While Bundesliga returns amidst Coronavirus there is still a huge debate among athletes , associations and government about sporting events to resume soon.
Hailun Chi, Sports Journalist, EC member of AIPS ASIA shared the status of Taiwan. During pandemic, baseball, softball, basketball, and football events was still played in Taiwan.
“Taiwan has been a model for handling the outbreak. Its transparent and competent approach has left the island nation of 24 million with 429 confirmed cases and only six deaths.” Commented by The Wall Street Journal on 27 April.
In the past few weeks, Taiwan government has donated more than 10 million surgical masks to US, Europe, Southeast Asia, India, Central and South America. Now in Taiwan, the functions of our society continue without interruption, and we keep stands with the world.
Taiwan’s professional baseball league (CPBL) becomes the first in the world to start its 2020 season as many countries have been forced to delay of cancel sports events due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Also, the Taiwan Professional Women’s Softball League, opened its fifth season on 25 April, is also the first professional softball league in the world to open its 2020 season.
The Taiwan Football Premier League and the Taiwan Super Basketball League (SBL) have also launched their seasons behind closed doors.
Eleven’s Taiwan operation extended its live broadcasts to the social media platform in a bid to capture international audiences starved of live sport, the broadcasts attract 7 millions viewers, more than 60% of enlarged audience tune in from the US.
The good news is, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC)said that it expects to soon allow a maximum of 250 fans attend local professional baseball games, and the maximum attendance cap may soon expanded if the country continues its success in containing the virus.
As many of other countries, there are also many sports journalists and freelancers in Taiwan, reducing their income because of the cancellation of events. The Taiwanese government is now planning relevant measures to help them in such a difficult time.
The situation in Iran is also grim when it comes to sports. According to the latest update from Iran, the Iraninan Comission for Combating Corona in Sports issued its 12th announcement after a meeting. According to the warning of the Ministry of Health and Medical Education, the situation in 132 cities in Iran is currently white. Accordingly, individuals and non group sports clubs in these cities are allowed to start their activities from May 5th 2020 in accordance with health guidelines.
“Apart from the announcement sports, the closure of other sports including competitions and training will continue until further notification”. Abdolhamid Ahmadi, Iranian Sports Press Association’s President.
Beatrice Go a multimedia Sports Reporter in Rappler, from Phillipines describes the current sports situation due to the pandemic as “Really sad and fraustrating because leagues are getting cancelled and the Olympics continue to be in peril. But in the end, each reporter and athlete out there is just like any other human being who is trying their best to protect themselves from the virus.” She also said “We have to put our career and everything we enjoy on hold first.”
Amanda Shalala who works for Australia Broadcasting Corporation as a Sports Broadcaster says, COVID-19 has made a significant impact on the sports industry in Australia, in a relatively short period of time.
“One of our largest sports media organizations, Fox Sports, has laid off a large number of staff during this time, and there are concerns more broadly around the sports media’s capacity to emerge from this pandemic unscathed.”
TV broadcast deals are the largest source of revenue for some of our major professional sports like the Australian Football League (AFL), National Rugby League (NRL), and without this money, a huge cloud has been hanging over their future. The AFL has managed to secure a large bank loan to keep afloat for now, while the NRL has desperately hatched a plan to restart its competition on May 28. The simple fact is they need to have their games broadcast on TV to survive.
Most sporting organizations within Australia have had to stand down a large number of staff, players have had to agree to massive pay cuts, and some senior figures, like the NRL and Rugby Australia CEOs have resigned in the wake of the fallout from the pandemic which has created a financial crisis.
Even community sport is feeling the effects, many local clubs which rely on player registration fees and sponsors fear they may not be able to survive this sport shutdown, which would be devastating for those people who play sport for the many social and health benefits it provides.
“The scale and depth of the impact on the sports industry is enormous, and there’s no doubt sport in Australia will look different once life starts to return to the new normal.”
Zabihullah Shahzaad is an Afghan Sports Journalist and member of International Sports Press Association. Zabihullah speaks about the coronavirus and how its effecting the Afghan civilians and sports persons in particular.
When I had a word with Zabihullah about the current status of sportspersons in Afghanistan he said “Afghanistan National Olympic Committee and General Directorate of Physical Education and sports organization had a message to sports federations, all national players and clubs banned and delayed all sports activities until further notice. He also added “However our national players are exercising at home and some of them are going to green places and doing their exercises individually”.
Zabihullah also has a message for Afghanistan and Indian civilians “please be at home and stay active and stay safe. Make your body strong and do exercises everyday”.
While some sports organizers believe stadiums should not be opened some thinks just the opposite. The message is still very strong #stayhome#staysafe#stayfit.
Source: Prarthana Hazarika| AIPS Member, India