Law Offices of Howard L. Jacobs
Call Today 800-854-0583

Sports adjusts to the coronavirus outbreak

There has been frightening news regarding the spread of Covid-19 (also known as the coronavirus). The death toll for this virus continues to climb in such far-flung locales as China, Iran and Italy with United States officials saying it is more of a matter of when the virus spreads here, instead of if the virus spreads here.

We are used to politicians and doctors talking about this disease, but its impact includes sporting events. This is not surprising if one considers the fact that tens-of-thousands of fans attend games, matches and tourneys around the globe.

The European leagues

There have been a number of precautions that have been employed to slow the spread of this disease. Because of the timing of the disease's spread, soccer is particularly proactive right now:

  • Four Serie A soccer playoff matches were postponed at the end of February.
  • All sporting events in Italy will be played in empty stadiums without fans until April 3, including playoff soccer.
  • There was a suspension of all sporting events in Lombardy, Veneto and Emilia-Romagna for several days in early March.
  • Italy's Six Nation rugby match on March 14 against England in Rome will likely be played in an empty stadium or postponed.
  • South Korea vs. Italy Davis Cup match took place on Sardinia on March 6-7.
  • Soccer players in Great Britain will break with tradition and not shake hands before a match.

In the United States

The 2020 BNP Paribas Open (a two-week tennis event dating back to 1976) has been cancelled after a confirmed case of Covid-19 caused the Riverside County Public Health Department to declare a public health emergency for the Coachella Valley.

Major League Soccer is just getting underway and has no virus-related announcements yet. However, Chicago State is the first major sports organization to cancel a game in the U.S. Its men's and women's basketball teams will not travel. Professional baseball is currently in spring training, but MLB officials have instructed players to not sign autographs because there is a chance the virus will spread through physical contact.

It is hard to imagine, but there are currently discussions about making changes to the NCAA's March Madness schedule and other tournaments. The organization is exploring how games could be played without fans in the seats. As of now, it is taking direction from the Centers for Disease Control.

Ramogi Huma, executive director of the National College Players Association, urged the NCAA and the schools to take further steps to protect athletes.

"Precautions should include canceling all auxiliary events that put players in contact with crowds such as meet and greets, and press events," he said in a statement. "Athletic programs should also take every possible measure to sanitize buses and airplanes used to transport players."

This story will no doubt evolve in the weeks and months ahead.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Law Offices of Howard L. Jacobs | 31111 Agoura Rd., Suite 225 |Westlake Village, CA 91361 | Phone: 800-854-0583 | Fax: 805-418-9899 | Map & Directions