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Champions League plays on two different fronts

Posted August. 14, 2020 07:38,   

Updated August. 14, 2020 07:38


The quarterfinals of the 2019-20 UEFA Champions League are playing on a tight time schedule in fight against COVID-19. Eight teams from five European nations including FC Barcelona and Bayern Munich have been in Lisbon, Portugal, to play for the Champions League cup.

All the athletes are required to get tested for COVID-19 not only before they depart from their home country and but also after they arrive in Lisbon. Test results are submitted at least six hours before a match starts. Maps show athletes accommodations and training zones within the training camp. Athletes must work out outside the field as workout may include sweating. They should make sure that grass around the goalposts stays intact so that it can reduce risks of infection. Each team received a set of 130-page guidelines and rules to abide by. Only a handful of staff are allowed to access the stadium zone, and no more than 120 people are allowed at a time in a section of the stadium.

As such, strict micromanagement regulations demonstrate how anxious the UEFA stays about the spread of COVID-19. It intends to minimize risks of the virus by keeping every single minute spent by all the athletes and staff under control.

Obviously, the UEFA is one of the most popular football events in the world. Once any single infected case happens during the event, global football fans’ excitement will instantly turn into criticism and fury about the executive committee’s irresponsibility and unpreparedness. That is why its top priority is not just to gain popularity and entertain football fans across the globe but also to ensure safety and security of athletes from different countries with varied countermeasures against COVID-19 in place. The overarching principle is to keep the number of infections at zero until the final match ends.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, global sports events require us to set up a secure front for large-scale and detailed quarantine measures as it matters to every participant’s well-being and health. If sports events are prohibited for some time, it will have severe impact overall. Athletes are fighting war on two different fronts – one against their competitors for the winning of the event and the one against COVID-19. Although they play a match on the field to achieve victory for themselves and their team, their goal should be to fight for everyone’s triumph against the coronavirus on the quarantine front.

Won-Hong Lee bluesky@donga.com