soccer during pandemic times

„panem et circenses“

Disclaimer: The both of us do like soccer. Based on our profound differences in cultural and linguistic roots, we are fans of different teams, that have won championships and cups over the past 60 years. The one from Bad Cannstatt is rooting for the VfB Stuttgart, while the Bavarian is rooting for the 1. FC Nuremberg and FC Bayern Munich. Conflicts are dealt with charmingly.

Nevertheless, we do have to give our opinion on the planned re-start of the German soccer league. The German soccer league has proposed a concept for the league to be re-launched on certain conditions.


Cartoon: Oliver Hoogvliet

Matches without spectators might be lame, but they will provide income from TV and streaming services. Thus, players, who are among the poorest in society, will not have to starve any longer. Fans will be able to put aside their daily issues and problems. This system has got a tradition, in ancient Rome it was called “panem et circenses”.

We are able to follow this idea.

Applying stringent conditions, this might work. There was a lot of discussion about close contact during play. No-one wants to see “distance soccer”, not even us. But, the conditions for a safe match are very stringent, indeed. It is possible if all people involved are strictly observing the following rules, and under the condition of constant testing and a strict quarantine.

Here is the simple solution, comparable to the gladiators of ancient Rome.

All teams will undergo strict quarantine. All teams means everyone involved, players, managers, physiotherapists a.s.o. Quarantine means: Barracks, no physical contact to outsiders or families.

Every team member should get tested daily via PCR. Only teams with members tested negative 5 days in a row are allowed to play.

Should a team have one single positive result, it will be banned from matches until it is proven that no one else has been infected. Their scheduled matches will be considered lost. This will ensure the clubs will take care of proper quarantine.

There is one positive side effect: After a week or so, it will be obvious which team is clean. If everyone is staying in isolation for the rest of the season, there is no risk of infection during matches. Tackling is allowed again.

The current season will only take a couple of months, thus we consider the players’ sacrifice of being pretty low. Consider this: The players would not just be gladiators, they would become heroes of the pandemic.

A nice gesture by the professional players would be a financial support of their original clubs, who had educated them: You would not be the one you are now if it weren’t for these clubs. This would lift you to the hero status for Sabine.

A heartfelt thanks to Oliver for the awesome cartoon. ollihoo (https://hoogvliet.de)

Stay tuned,

Sabine and Joerg

Meet Sabine at XING: https://www.xing.com/profile/Sabine_Breun

Visit Joerg at LinkedIn: http://linkedin.com/in/jörg-baumann-phd-0710b11a3