The Belarus Football Federation announced that the country’s Premier League will go ahead as per schedule. They even hosted 2 matches on Thursday. This decision is one that endangers both players as well as fans in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic.
The coronavirus has brought the sporting world to a standstill. Horse Racing is being held amidst severe restrictions behind closed doors.
In addition to defying the norm of suspending activities, the league permitted spectators to attend matches as well. A live stream of the opening game between Energetik BGU and BATE Borisov showed plenty of spectators in the main stand
Energetik BGU beat BATE Borisov 3-1 in this encounter.
Belarus Football Federation head Vladimir Bazanov said only 51 positive cases of Coronavirus were recorded in the country. This is no reason to not begin the season. He said, “for what reason should we not start?”, and went on to ask if a state of emergency had been declared in Belarus.
Bazanov concluded by saying there is no critical situation and hence they decided to start the league on time.
He also addressed the issue of playing behind closed doors. He acknowledged that games across Europe were played without spectators, but said that fans gather outside stadiums in large numbers. This means that there is no sense in closing off games.
The Belarus Football Federation’s decision to go ahead with matches during these troubled times will be confusing. Two matches were played on Thursday. Six more games are scheduled between Friday and Sunday. One wonders what will be a critical situation in the eyes of Vladimir Bazanov who said he would attend 3 matches in the opening weekend.
The English Premier League extended its suspension until the 30th of April. La Liga and Serie A seasons were interrupted. In the interest of safety, football fans hope that the Belarus Premier League abides by strict restrictions during these troubled times.