Should the Belarus Premier League Still Be Playing During the Pandemic?

Whilst the rest of the world, have postponed all sporting events this is not the case for the European country of Belarus. They are currently still planning to fulfil all of their matches as they enter the second round of fixtures. So is it safe for them still to be playing during the COVID-19 pandemic?

As stated the rest of the world have postponed their fixtures so why are Belarus not following suit? The general consensus is that they do not see it as a pandemic in their country as of yet. Belarus currently have 94 confirmed cases with a 32 people having recovered from their illnesses. However, they have had no deaths in the country so far.

These stats, according to the Belarussian people, are not alarming and they feel there is no need to be concerned or worried about attending a football match. This view is shared by the Belarus FA chief Vladimir Bazanov, who had the view that it was not declared a national emergency so why should they cancel the league.

However, this is view is dangerous from what we know about how the virus spreads and mutates. If players and fans alike are congregating together then they are placing everyone in the stadium at risk. It does not just stop at the stadium it carries onto who those people will meet and then who they meet after that.

Former Barcelona and Arsenal midfielder Alexsander Hleb has a similar view as he worries for the safety of his family. He believes that the whole country do not care about the spread of the virus as President Alexander Lukashenko refuses to take stronger actions to fight the infection.

In Belarus, ice hockey is their national sport and more spectators will attend these games than football matches, but many will attend both. Players from the NHL travel over after the season is finished to carry on playing all year round. Hleb joked that Roanldo and Messi might do the same.

Last weekend betting companies across the UK were streaming the game live to fans across the nation who were missing their live football fix. Although it does seem menial and something that a football fan can enjoy, it is shocking how little to nothing has been done by the Belarus government and the lack of concern about sporting occasions spreading the virus.

With the Minsk derby being played this weekend, Saturday 28th March, then that will create more of an atmosphere in the city where people will be inclined to go to the game given that it is a local rivalry. With Misnk being the capital of Belarus it could have a detrimental affect on Belarusian society.

FC Minsk’s stadium has a capacity of 3,000 and it is expected that the capacity could be filled.

However, if the government are not willing to make a decision regarding the unprecedent situation then football will go ahead to help keep the people calm and entertained but the question remains at what cost.

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