Opinion: Euro 2020 Has To Go To Protect League Football

Amidst the panic of coronavirus spreading, the strain it is having on the health service and the immense anxiety it is causing those who live in fear of their families or loved ones contracting COVID-19. Football fans are one of the largest groups in society that await news of what Coronavirus may mean for them should the Government decide to restrict the screening of games & play games behind closed doors.

Football is a huge part of a lot of people’s lives and they want their team to complete their fixtures without fuss AS WELL as society protecting itself from the virus. Games behind closed doors are pointless. Jock Stein’s immortal words were “Football Without Fans is Nothing”, and that claim has stood the test of time.

You can celebrate watching it on the TV, but in an empty stadium? The passion, colour and occasion are lost amidst calls of man on and obscenities from the touch line.

Instead of forcing these games to be played behind closed doors, the relative authorities should pester UEFA to postpone the Euro 2020 Finals that are scheduled across Europe this summer. The numerous host cities and logistics already appear challenging given recent events but should the plans to postpone and reschedule games like in Italy, the June kickoff seems very close for comfort.

A number of Federations have asked UEFA to be pragmatic and move the event back a year, but with the Club World Cup and Women’s Euro’s scheduled for next year they appear reluctant.

What the authorities should do is after this weekend’s fixtures are completed, the league should be postponed for 3 weeks. Similar to a winter break, the shutdown would reduce the cash worries of the clubs as the games will still be played. Players can train as they normally would but without the games, the risk factor involved is taken away.

At the end of the day, football is a game. We cannot risk the health and wellbeing of the vulnerable because people want to go to the football. I myself have been defiant about the virus saying that I won’t let it stop me going to the football. But take the opportunity away, people will not try break rank. We saw it in the Liverpool game, a fan tried to get Klopp to shake hands but was sternly told where to go by the German. Thousands of PSG’s Ultras arrived at the stadium to welcome the team bus. Take the game back a few weeks and then there’s no need, no temptation and no potential spread.

It would be unfortunate to postpone the Euros, they are an incredible spectacle but there will be no feasible alternative for clubs to complete the season if the games are shut down.

If and when Celtic win 9IAR and when Liverpool win their first league title in 30 years, the fans should be there to see it.

About Author

Born just as Celtic were stopping the Ten, Lubo98 follows Celtic home and away and helps run his local Celtic Supporters Club. He goes to all the games and is a Law Graduate. Has a particular fondness for Tom Rogic among the current Celts and both Lubo and Henrik form his earliest Celtic memories.

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