One of the most important institutions right now on this historical period we are going through is surely the WHO. However, sometimes there might be some controversy due to their demands. This time, it’s with football, with a request of a down time of almost 2 years.
BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE: DID THE WHO CROSS THE LINE?
The importance of consolidating some measures to stop the virus, surely makes the World Health Organization a great institution right now. The fight against COVID-19, that was previously restricted to the population in general, is now coming to football, with very complicated recommendations by the WHO.
On a meeting with UEFA and the representatives of several clubs in Europe, the WHO recommended there shouldn’t be football played in the continent until the end of 2021. If we count with the period of confinement and social distancing we are already going through, the period without football matches would last for almost 2 years.
According to information, a “heated” debate, to not say in an aggressive tone, was extended. Obviously, the clubs didn’t agree with this situation and everything is on the hands of the ones who are organizing the competitions from now on.
The damage could be practically irreversible, and that surely didn’t go into the analysis of the WHO, that simply disregards the economical impact that everyone would have, including the nations involved. A study suggests a loss of over 4 billion euros if the current leagues are not shut down.
Imagine how big the loss would be, in case the domestic leagues, cups and continental competitions weren’t played until 2022. The problem is that not even the clubs are unanimous regarding some measures, such as matches played without crowd, for example. This issue of selling tickets is practically ruled off for the rest of 2020, and with that, the clubs are calculating how much they will need to earn in order not to go bankrupt.
A progressive return is the idea right now. However, UEFA’s president already suggested that it will be more difficult to negotiate with the local authorities. New meetings will be scheduled, and the WHO will keep defending this aspect of downtime. Surely they won’t reach an agreement, and the responsibility regarding future contamination would be UEFA’s, which makes it more dangerous for the authorities to approve.
DUTCH LEAGUE SHOULD BE SHUT DOWN
Each country will face a battle so that football matches can be authorized, even behind closed doors. Meanwhile, in Germany, the politicians have authorized the return and a potential resumption of the schedule in the 2nd week of May, while in the Netherlands the opposite happened.
🚨 — The WHO (World Health Organisation) has advised the heads of European football that leagues should not be resumed until the end of 2021. [placar] pic.twitter.com/SCiSmfMlqp
— Barça Universal (@BarcaUniversal) April 21, 2020
The Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced, after this request of the WHO, that any big event is forbidden in the country, and that includes football, even behind closed doors. With that, the 2019/20 season of the Eredivisie (first division of football in the country) should be cancelled.
The definition of the champions, if we even have a winner declared, which teams qualify for the European competitions next season and which teams will be relegated for the 2nd division will still be discussed in the upcoming days. Each country will react in a certain way regarding that recommendation, but what’s certain is that it generated some controversy all around the world.
WHAT ABOUT BRAZIL?
An example is the CBF supervisor, Marco Aurélio Cunha, that made harsh comments about the WHO representatives, saying they don’t understand anything about football.
According to the Brazilian, the WHO change their speech constantly, going from total isolation to progressive return or to discussing social measures for which country. This week, the Italian clubs opted for an agreement to end the season on the pitch and said that at first they wouldn’t accept this extended stoppage.
Football in Brazil may resume late next month https://t.co/MvmbDOQ4SX
— Saudi 24 News (@Saudi24N) May 20, 2020
The approval of the government will be essential for the quick return to training. However, the president of the Italian FA is projecting a return between the end of May and beginning of June. In Brazil, the situation is quite complex. At first, due to being a continental-sized country, each region suffers the impact of the COVID-19 crisis in a different way.
While in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro the actions of social isolation are severe, at Santa Catarina for example, businesses and other specific companies were allowed to return to activity. With that, representatives of football in the state are asking the CBF to serve as “guinea pig” for football in the country and for it to be allowed in the upcoming weeks.
This week, the CBF said they won’t allow football in the country during the month of May and the situation will still be reassessed for the month of June.