On Sports: How the U.S. Can Look to Europe To Restart Sports Leagues

by Aidan Trump ‘21

It is safe to say that there have been drastic changes to our day to day lives with the advent of the Coronavirus Pandemic sweeping the nation and the world. Schools have closed, public meeting places have shut down, and sadly so have professional  sports leagues. 

However, there is still hope for sports fans as a host of European nations have either planned to restart soon or have already restarted their sports leagues in some capacity. In Germany, the Bundesliga (the country’s first division soccer league) has games scheduled as soon as this Saturday, May 16. While this is great news for fans of European soccer, American leagues such as the NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLS are still closed. 

Although these leagues remain closed at the moment, league officials can examine the strategies and protocols employed by European soccer leagues to restart play. For example, the Bundesliga will have no fans in attendance at matches, the players of each team will have been quarantined only leaving their hotels to train. In the time leading up to these matches, players and team staff will receive regular testing to ensure that each player and staff member is not carrying the virus. There will be a maximum of 213 people in the stadium which includes the players, coaching staff, referees, ball boys, members of the media, and photographers. Additionally, there will no longer be team photos or handshakes to keep the chances of the virus spreading at a minimum. 

If the resumption of the Bundesliga is a resounding success, then it begs the question in many a sports fan’s mind “if they can do it, why can’t we?” Well, it is no secret that in America testing for the Coronavirus has not been where it should be. However, in Germany where the Bundesliga is played testing kits have been made readily available. 

Nevertheless, there is still a chance for the resumption of our sports leagues in the U.S. Looking towards our European neighbors for guidance, and taking note of what worked and didn’t work for them will be our best course of action if we are to resume play in our favorite sports leagues amidst the Coronavirus pandemic.