WHO top shot warning on ‘full house’ venues

Linkedin Twitter

Tottenham Stadium Image: MJR Group Ltd./Coliseum

Michael Ryan, Emergencies Director at the World Health Organization (WHO), has drawn a very grim picture of countries with huge spike in COVID-19 cases trying to stage big-ticket sporting fixtures. He has warned that it is “very unrealistic” to expect countries with high rates of COVID-19 transmission to stage large-scale sporting events before the end of the year.

Though in UK sports have started to resume in recent weeks, but they are all being held sans fans. Recently, the Prime Minister of UK, Boris Johnson, suspended the staging of pilot sports events with presence of spectators in England due to a surge in COVID-19 cases.

The two major sporting spectacles to be postponed this summer due to COVID-19 are the UEFA European Football Championships and the Tokyo Olympic Games, with a raft of other leagues and competitions having been rescheduled or canceled totally because of the fatal respiratory disease which is continuing with its ‘Dance of Death’. The norm this year is matches behind closed doors in major championships such as the Champions League and English Premier League.

During a live social media chat recently, Ryan warned that allowing tens of thousands of fans back into the stadium fold for sports matches could be “disastrous” while transmission remains high.

“Large crowds of 40, 50, 60,000 people – it’s not just a risk of being in the stadium, it’s the risk of going to the stadium, the public transport, the bars and the clubs,” Ryan averred.

“Imagine all the problems we have now with nightclubs and bars, and you squeeze all of that together into a four- or five-hour experience, where thousands of people go on the same public transport to a venue, get involved in the social aspects before a game, be involved in the game and then all of the social aspects after. In the context of community transmission, that could be disastrous,” the top WHO official observed.

Ryan added, “We may have to expect that as things open up, we go from having no-one at the games to maybe 1,000 and 2,000. We all want our sport back. We’re just going to have to be careful for a good bit longer. It’s very unrealistic in countries with community transmission that we’re going to be seeing large gatherings like that this year. Right now, it’s hard to see those fully reopened venues.”

The Irish epidemiologist said that going by the destructive streak of coronavirus, it was impossible to predict as to when major sporting events could resume.

Continue to follow Coliseum for latest updates on venues business news. Coliseum is dedicated towards building the best global community of sports and entertainment venue executives and professionals creating better and more profitable venues.

Become a member of the only Global Sports Venue Alliance and connect with stadiums, arenas and experts from around the world. Apply for membership at coliseum-online.com/alliance and make use of the 365Coliseum Business Center including the ‘Get in touch’ business development support tool and the global ‘new projects’ database.

Watch 150 member-exclusive videos with valuable tips for your venue

« Previous News:
» Next News:

More News

NFL Play-offs 2021 with fans

Fans ‘energize’ stadia in NFL matchups

Published: January 22, 2021

It was a total adrenaline rush scene as die-hard fans descended on the Lambeau Field (US) ground on... » Read more

India Odisha new field hockey stadium

Futuristic field hockey venue in India

Published: January 22, 2021

A futuristic 20,000-capacity hockey facility – intended to become the world’s leading... » Read more

Italy Florence stadium update Jan 2020

Florence Mayor firm on Franchi revamp

Published: January 22, 2021

First it was – the Italian professional football club ACF Fiorentina declaring that ‘it’s... » Read more

Aarau new stadium

FC Aarau venue plans get stuck in red tape

Published: January 22, 2021

The Swiss football club FC Aarau have been waiting for a new dig since 1994 (!). However, it seems... » Read more

Receive global sports venue NEWS twice a week in your inbox