Sports matches behind closed doors are here to stay as the world deals with the Covid-19 pandemic. The lack of atmosphere inside the stadium is the obvious challenge that organisers and broadcasters are having to face and many have come up with interesting solutions to solve it.
Bundesliga’s Borussia Monchengladbach has put cut-outs of fans on empty seats while Taiwan baseball league robot drummers to ramp up the atmosphere. During this week’s Bundesliga game between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, the broadcast feed used sound clips of fans to make the game more watchable.
However, Indian captain Sunil Chhetri has an altogether different, yet valid, concern for playing football behind closed doors.
“So if there are no fans, people will get to know our vocabulary of abuses. We utter nonsense, but we are allowed to say anything, except to the referee. We are dirty, we are ugly. If the fans are there, they are loud, and it [the abuse] all gets subdued. But if they’re not there, my god,” Chhetri was quoted as saying during a webinar organised by non-profit organisation YUVA that also featured badminton star PV Sindhu and shooter Anjum Moudgil.
“These superstars (Sindhu and Moudgil) play a game very nicely and they are very well-behaved, they don’t abuse,” Chhetri added.
The Indian captain football authorities have to be very careful in resuming the game as the likelihood of contracting the virus increases due to daily training sessions.
“The Korean League and Bundesliga are checking every player every single day before he trains. When they go to the match, they have already been tested that they have no virus. But you never know because some can be asymptomatic. That’s why, for a second layer of protection, they are saying don’t hug each other, don’t spit and stuff like that,” he said.
“But I think the first stage is training only. Matches are only once a week, but you train every day. It’s going to be 30 players minimum, 12 coaches, a ball boy and a kit man. Everybody is going back home, and you don’t know who they are meeting. You don’t know who they are mixing with. But then again, you have to start,” he added.
The Indian Super League was able to finish its season and its next campaign will only begin in October. The I-League season has been concluded with Mohun Bagan being crowned champions and no team getting relegated.