It isn’t an understatement to say that the Covid-19 strain of the coronavirus has had a monumental impact on the world. For millions of people around the globe, daily life has been upended and replaced with fear and uncertainty. Quarantines, self-isolations, canceled flights, stock market downturns and the closures of schools and business have all come into play. While leading experts and Government officials are still coming to grips with the spread of the virus, most are taking the necessary precautions to try and curb its exposure in the wider community.
As a result, many festivals and large sporting events have now been put on hold, postponed or simply cancelled until further notice. Restrictions implemented in some countries have meant a ban on gatherings of over 500 people while others have opted to continue with planned events albeit behind closed doors.
Many of these measures have been taken in the short term. The football Premier League in the UK has suspended all games until April 3rd at the earliest. The London marathon has also been postponed until October. The rugby Six Nations tournament has already suspended games and all across the world, various sporting organisations are putting in place plans to move or halt ongoing events.
But with no signs of the virus ending there are other huge sporting events in 2020 that are in danger of being postponed or cancelled.
Will sporting events, travel, tourism, and businesses recover?
The governments of affected countries have imposed at least two weeks to a month-long quarantine to even lockdown measures. However, from the looks of the things right now, such deadlines are only a formality and are subject to extension depending on the severity of COVID-19 cases. Many businesses are already adjusting now by doing business online, employees are now working remotely, and students are continuing their classes online. But as for sporting events, not much can be done.
The cancelation of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, even if it’ll be held in June only strengthens the seriousness of the pandemic. Full resumption of global travel can’t be restored soon and athletes can’t train productively under quarantine conditions. Some athletes have unfortunately been infected with some tragically succumbing to COVID-19. In that case, canceling any crowd-centric events is the most sane and logical choice. Make no mistake the world will recover, but it’ll not be the same one. Even after quarantines and lockdowns are lifted, the world will be more cautious to ensure that we won’t be caught flat-footed again.
UEFA Euro 2020
One of the biggest sporting events that could be affected by the outbreak is the Euros 2020. Usually hosted by one country, this time UEFA decided to spread the games out among a number of European countries. The idea was that the economic befits would be spread out and more nations would benefit.
However, due to the fact that Covd-19 is now a pandemic, and every European country has been effected by it, the tournament is now in jeopardy. While the event isn’t scheduled to take place until June, the problem is that not all of the qualifiers have actually been played. So if teams can’t qualify, then Euro 2020 can’t go ahead. In fact, it is now likely that the event will be moved to 2021.
The 2020 Grand National
One of the most valuable jumps racing any where in the world, the Grand National is the pinnacle of the National Hunt season in the UK. Over 70,000 tickets have already been sold for race day and with a prize fund over a million pounds up for grabs, organisers are reluctant to postpone the race.
The three day festival contributes a huge amount economically into the local area and the horses that are set to compete have been in training all season. There has been a suggestion that the race could be held behind closed doors, with no more than 1,000 staff, trainers, assistants etc…allowed to attend. Alternatively, the race gets postponed with December the next likely date it could be run, in place of the Becher Chase which is raced over the same unique fences.
Tokyo Olympics 2020
Dating back to the times of ancient Greece, the Olympics is synonymous with producing the best athletes in the world. Winning an Olympic medal is the dream of every sports person and the Japanese have been preparing to host the event for years.
Not due to be held until July 2020, Olympic organisers have insisted the Tokyo Games will go ahead as planned despite the sharp spike in Covid‑19 cases across the globe. Yoshiro Mori, the Tokyo 2020 Olympics chief, said his team were not considering changing plans for the Games. Sources at the International Olympic Committee are also stressing that nothing has changed.
The Olympic torch was lit on Thursday March 12th, with no spectators. It will continue an eight-day journey through 37 cities in Greece before being handed over to Japan, where the torch will visit 47 prefectures over 121 days before arriving at the opening ceremony on 24 July.