The global outbreak of COVID-19 has impacted all sectors of life that includes sports sector as well. Almost all the sports activities whether indoor or outdoor have social, economic and health benefits. Sports activities play a vital role in social development of an individual. If we study its economic perspective, the global value of the sports industry is estimated at 756 billion US$ annually. It is one of the largest industrial sectors which provide employment to millions of people worldwide either directly or indirectly. But due to this prevailing pandemic situation, the cancellation of national or international sports events showed deep economic repercussion. Activities associated with any sports not only keep players physically and mentally fit but at the same time, these activities have always been considered a valuable means for fostering communications, building bridges between communities and nations.
As the countries are easing lockdown with certain conditions. There has been a debate and discussion going on whether to restart the sports activities or not in this pandemic situation. These debates and discussion programs initiated by various electronic or print media brought a smile on the faces of the sports lovers when they came to know that few states have already given a green signal to sports federations or organizations to restart the sports events around the globe with new norms and protocol. In fact, England has already started football premier league with new rules. Now, a curiosity grew here when and how such events will take place in other parts of the world?
For the time being, the only thing that we can do is to draw an imaginary sketch about the particular game; it will be a new experience for all of us to see the players entering into the ground with unique getup; hiding their faces, umpires, referee commentators wearing colorful masks, wearing gloves, men on the field using sanitizers frequently during the game. Testing or retesting of players after regular intervals in order to check their body temperature; umpire/ referee uttering this particular sentence quite often “Maintain proper Social distance otherwise, the red card will be displayed against the player or players”. Usually when a bowler gets out a batsman of the opposite team while playing Cricket or scores a goal while playing football or hockey, they all enjoy that particular movement on the ground by hugging, kissing, striking each other’s hands, encircling on the middle of the playground to express their unity but unfortunately such scene will not been seen right now. There will be an emotional testing for each player because there will be no instant celebrations during the game. There will be no supporting crowd, no clapping and no more live appreciation on the behalf of spectators. Perhaps, it may be the first experience of that kind in the history of sports where there will not be live spectators watching the game.
How far these timely changes will affect the game is something that is yet to be tested. But, I personally believe that games played under the new norms certainly lack emotional attachment that is one of the important factors involved in any game and that can’t be subsided from any sports. But, anyway sports authorities have no other way but to adopt requisite guidelines in order to give some momentum to the sports activities that have been halted across the globe so far. During this crisis situation, good news with regard to restarting of sports activities is that the president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and his team has identified the tentative window for IPL 2020 from September 26th to November 8th. Let’s hope this anomalous situation that aroused due to the spread of COVID- 19 will go away as early as possible and the sports lovers will enjoy the real essence of the game once again.
(Author is a Teacher)