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What does it mean to be an Indian sports fan amid coronavirus outbreak?

What does it mean to be an Indian sports fan amid coronavirus outbreak?

Md Imtiaz

Published: 13 March 2020 12:45 PM GMT

With each passing day, the discussions related to COVID 19 (novel coronavirus) is getting serious across the world. With the World Health Organisation (WHO) dubbing the virus as a global pandemic, countries and government are adopting more stringent methods to restrict the spreading of the disease. And as a response to the outbreak, each passing day we are hearing announcements about sporting events being postponed, cancelled or played in empty stadiums. From boxing to cricket and the latest being the IPL, the axe is being drawn over multiple events.

The impact of the coronavirus on sport has been widespread. Football matches in the Champions League, La Liga, the Bundesliga and Europa League are being played behind closed doors. Matches in the Six Nations, Asian Champions League and Serie A have been postponed. And all sport in Italy has been suspended until at least 3 April. Many similar events across the world have been postponed, suspended or cancelled in recent times. This includes the NBA in USA, professional tennis tournaments, golf, etc. Of course, some events, like the Road Safety World Series 2020 cricket tournament in Maharashtra, a few European football leagues in Spain, Portugal, Germany, F1 Racing in Australia are being staged behind closed doors.

The ISL Final is going to be a closed door affair on Saturday The ISL Final is going to be a closed door affair on Saturday

In between an action-packed sporting season in India, it must be quite disappointing for fans to see their anticipations being dissipated over events getting postponed or delayed and sometimes being played in empty stadiums. As of now, the major events that have bore the brunt includes the ISL final between ATK FC and Chennaiyin FC happening on Saturday at an empty stadium in Goa. The season's most awaited football derby between East Bengal and Mohun Bagan (arguably the greatest rivalry in Indian sport) in the I-league will also be a closed-door affair. An encounter that usually entails and attendance of over 50,000 people at the hallowed Salt Lake stadium in Kolkata, will be missing out on the fan revelry this time, although the winners of the I-league have officially been crowned.

While many events have been cancelled in foreign lands that would have given Indian athletes the advantage to qualify for Olympics, the major scare now lies that an axe also hangs over hosting the Tokyo Olympics itself. More than that, a question is directed towards Indian fans right now is how does it affect you?

IPL postponed till April 15 IPL postponed till April 15

While the Badminton Indian Open Super 500, the country's biggest badminton tournament, has already been decided to be a cloed-door event, BWF might end up cancelling the tournament. The biggest blow has been dealt already to the cricket fans who have been eagerly waiting for India's biggest sporting league - the IPL, temporarily postponed till April 15. The IPL has been postponed and there are reports that it might be held in closed doors. Can you imagine someone like Kohli, who draws his energy from the fans, playing in an empty ground? Can you imagine Pant not getting taunted with chants of "Dhoni Dhoni" when he drops a sitter!? It might be a strange sight.

Even while this article is being written, the Premier League, UEFA Champions League and Europa League were announced to be postponed, which have a huge fan base in India. With such tournaments being affected, it will be a struggle for sports fans to get over the boredom.

So it is the questions we ask you, how these changes are affecting you? Have you bought the tickets for events that got cancelled? Share us your thoughts on how will you overcome the tragedy of having your favourite athletes out of action for a while? Send us your thoughts at [email protected]

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