Coronavirus: no supporters in stadium before Fall 2021, scientists recommend

Published by Alexandre G. · Photos by Alexandre G. · Published on 22 April 2020 at 13h37 · Updated on 23 April 2020 at 15h48
While the coronavirus epidemic is slightly slowing down and governments are getting ready for gradual deconfinement, scientists think the public should return to stadiums not before Fall 2021. A hypothesis that is not an option now for the world soccer governing bodies.

Health is out of stadiums. Since gradual deconfinement has been announced in France for May 11 and other dates more or less likely in other countries affected by the coronavirus epidemic, scientists alert on the dangerousness of returning to normal life too quickly. This is especially the case for sport events gathering public. According to their recommendations, no one should go back to stadiums before Fall 2021. Unless a vaccine is found before. For the world soccer governing bodies, supporters and fans, this scenario is not an option, given the vital economic and sport stakes.

Yet French President Emmanuel Macron seemed to be in favor of prudence, by recommending people would be allow back in arenas only from July 15. Too soon, scientists say. In that way, we can read in Veja, a Brazilian magazine, that two epidemiologists from the World Health Organization suggested to the EFA, the European soccer governing body, not to resume international competitions with supporters before late 2021, because of too-high risk of new contamination waves. Both scientists justified their sayings with results from a study focusing on the reappearance of the virus and its mutation. A resurrection that would be deadly to supporters present without the promise of a vaccine available.

Moreover, there is a large amount of feedbacks from the international scientific community going the same way as the institution. On an interview with Times magazine, epidemiologist Zach Binney said “epidemiologically speaking, [the thing] is that every person you add to a gathering adds risk”. He also insists on the fact that “will not be possible for fans to attend sports events until a vaccine exists for coronavirus”. As for French epidemiologist Catherine Hill interviewed by France Info, “We need a vaccine” in any case, that would be – according to her – delivered “for Fall 2021”. As for solutions for in-camera games or tests at the entrance of stadiums, she thinks they are “unrealistic” because of “their still flawed reliability”.  It remains to be seen if the WHO will give one final answer on the matter or if French President Emmanuel Macron will listen to scientists or sport organizations more.


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