The expectation for the return of the big competitions makes fans cling to any news that give them a sliver of hope. Last week, the president of the CONMEBOL spoke about the possibility of the return of the Copa Libertadores and the conditions that the tournament would have to go through.
THE PRESIDENT’S HOPE FOR THE RETURN OF FOOTBALL
CONMEBOL’s president Alejandro Domínguez is optimistic for an early return from the Copa Libertadores. The main competition in the South American continent, the Libertadores had only one match of its group stage played, and the schedule that is supposed to be fulfilled until December is still extensive and can disrupt the national leagues ahead.
Among the many people who are opposed to matches being played in 2020, Domínguez is in favour of playing games without fans, in order to reduce the effects of the Corona Virus outbreak.
In the words of the president, if the only way to have football this year is to play without fans, then this is how the entity will do it. Alejandro Domínguez’s speech makes sense, given that the World Health Organization and so many local authorities ended up ruling out any kind of crowd gathering these days, football would not be the only exception.
Despite the nice words of the representative, the situation is not so simple. If it was an appeal in favour of the national leagues, we could have some kind of consideration in each country to see whether or not they could play the matches. As the desire is for the Copa Libertadores, I see it as very unlikely to happen in the near future. South America started its most effective infection period a short time ago, and each country is at a different stage of the outbreak.
Ecuador, for example, have a total breakdown on their health and funeral system. There are bodies scattered all over the country’s floor, bodies that have not been removed from their homes, and surely a football match under these conditions would be totally disrespectful.
Brazil is a country of continental size, so every point of its territory suffers in different ways with the COVID-19.
São Paulo at the moment is where there is the largest number of cases, but the numbers are beginning to increase in the south, due to the arrival of the cold in the region. Airports in the continent have their operations very limited and there are countries that have even closed their borders.
The displacement of delegations is very compromised, and unfortunately it is not as simple as playing behind closed doors and just continuing. We have to support collective control, or a continental competition is in danger of not coming back.
THE CASE IN ITALY STILL SERVES AS A WARNING FOR AN EARLY RETURN
The fact that many experts indicate that the match in Milan, between Atalanta and Valencia was a trigger for the spread of the disease in Italy puts a brake on those who advocate a brief return of the competitions in South America. Even without fans, the risk would still be quite high for players, commissions, staff, media professionals, etc.
In Germany, the number of professionals working in the Bundesliga is almost one-third lower. In the case of the match played in Italy, over 30% of Valencia players tested positive for the disease days after the match. The contagion also occurred on the pitch, and not just in the stands.
— globoesportecom (de 🏠) (@globoesportecom) April 7, 2020
Let’s imagine that after the return of the competitions, a player from a certain team tested positive for the disease. He, in turn, should be placed in isolation, but he most likely already had passed it to a teammate in training, and the measure may be the team being quarantined.
What would bet the solution on that case? Besides that, the teams that faced that one may be contaminated and still have the risk of having someone being infected. There aren’t any quick tests yet, so they could be done to the pros before the games. It’s all very complicated. Transportation is the most difficult point to deal with at the moment, but there’s also the willingness and fear of the players to get in touch with each other.
I agree with the president’s speech. If there’s a way to get back to the matches this year, it’s without crowds at first. The big problem is when that’s going to happen, because the difference between each country is very large. We hope it’s something short, so that at least the national competitions come back, in order not to depend on traffic between countries, which for now seems almost impossible.