The COVID-19 pandemic is still at large all around the world. However, with the world returning to normalcy at a surprising speed, it feels like a collective effort of ignoring the risk that is at hand. Countries like India are still fighting the second wave of this virus and facing governmental lockdowns to stop the spread of the virus further. Countries in Europe and the country of Japan are preparing for major sporting events, which may be a huge mistake, given the condition of the world currently.
The sporting events are organised by large scale organisations that will have you believe that everything will be fine. There are strict guidelines in place that will prevent the disease from contaminating the events. This was the same approach of the BCCI when it came to the IPL 2021, and we know how that turned out to be. The whole event was cancelled after players started to get affected one by one, followed by the infection of all the teams. If that is any lesson, it might have been a good idea to keep away from sporting events for 2021.
To add fuel to the fire, these events will allow spectators to come to the venues. Critics have been very against the idea of holding such events, even going as far as to say that this could lead to a new variant of the virus. Let us take a look at the safety measures taken by these events and how they plan to conclude these events without bringing the wrath of COVID upon the whole world again.
The Euro 2020 competition is following the safety bubble for all the teams that are participating in the competition. The teams are allowed to create a squad of 26 players for competing in the tournament. In case any player tests positive, they are to self-isolate themselves till they test negative. The COVID protocol also dictates that the fixtures can be delayed up to 48 hours for teams to present at least 13 player playing squad. In cases of emergency, more players can be called up from the country in need of players. If the team is not able to procure players and present their playing 11 within 48 hours of the intended starting time of the match. The team with the positive players will forfeit the game 0-3 to the opponent.
It is expected that the safety precautions of the Euro 2020 are in continuation of the precautions followed by the local leagues of Europe, which minimises the possibility of a large scale breakout. The stadiums are also allowed only to be occupied by only a percentage of their original capacity. This is done to ensure that the spectators do not get contaminated. UEFA will also maintain proper testing and rigorous safety protocols to ensure the safety of the entire tournament with the least amount of disruptions.
The finals and the semi-final of the tournament are to be held at the Wembley Stadium in the UK. Those fixtures are expected to be held at the full stadium capacity if the COVID restrictions are lifted in the UK before the dates of the fixture.
Critics have been against the idea of holding a cross-continental tournament during such a difficult time in human history. The only reason the Euros are not being postponed is because of the huge sums of money that the organisations and advertisers are losing. This feels like more of a marketing gimmick to hold the Euros in such a condition than it is a true embodiment of the neverending love for football.
Human lives are being put at stake for the monetary profit of a few, and also, the hosting of such a cross-continental event only benefits the bigger and richer countries. For the smaller countries, it is a complete nightmare as they do not have the resources logistically to properly maintain and hold an event at the scale of the Euros.
When it comes to the Olympics 2021, it is an entirely different ball game from the Euros. The IOC has been heavily criticised for its decision to go forward with the games in spite of huge amounts of backlash both nationally in Japan and internationally by many other countries. Health professionals and other experts have also criticised the decision of going ahead with the biggest sporting event in the world during an ongoing pandemic.
In terms of precaution, the Olympics refer to an updated and changed playbook, which according to them, is fluidic and is made in accordance with the WHO to ensure optimum safety of all the athletes involved. One of the only good measures maintained by the IOC is banning any international spectators from coming and spectating the Japan Olympics this year. This may be a bummer for international supporters who were hoping to come and be a part of the celebrations. It will at least lower the possibilities of a global outbreak starting again due to the Olympics.
The Olympic organising committee has also announced that only athletes and personnel essential for the games are to be called upon from the participating nations. This is also done to reduce the possibilities of a global outbreak. However, experts have repeatedly warned of the impending threat that can be caused due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The un-ending optimism of the IOC is not shared by everyone when it comes to the 2021 Olympics. Different doctors and medicare professionals have come out and accused the IOC of being very irregular and loose with the COVID related restrictions. Some of them have also claimed the methods to be outright outdated. The very important factor that one needs to notice here is that the Olympics are being hosted in Japan, a country whose population in the majority has not yet been vaccinated against the pandemic virus. This has caused a major uproar in the country and the people of Japan to be against the idea of the Olympics taking place in their country. There are major demonstrations in public in Japan against the Olympics. To top that off, doctors have reported that holding the Olympics this year could also give rise to a new variant of the COVID-19 virus known as the 'Olympic variant'.
Despite all the naysayers, worried experts, and citizens, the Euros and the Olympics are going to be held this year. With the Euros already on the way and the Olympics just over a month away, there is no telling what kind of threat we should be expecting from these events. In the end, for the benefit of a few, the sufferance of many will yet again be continued, and the deadly effects of the pandemic will live on in the poorer and developing parts of the world. So, let's join hands and celebrate the greed of humanity at the cost of human lives all around the world in the name of Entertainment.