Masks, social distance, respiratory etiquette, hand hygiene. And also tests and tests again! The new rules and regulations that have reigned in the world since the first months of 2020 have directly affected football as well.
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The stadiums, many of which previously held tens of thousands of spectators, suddenly turned into deserted places, completely devoid of human emotions. Initially, they stopped hosting football matches altogether, but then they reopened. When this happened, the fans were no longer allowed into the stands, then the restrictions were slightly relaxed, and a small number began to be allowed in, but soon a tough taboo was applied again.
All the rules and requirements were aimed at one thing – an effective fight against the coronavirus pandemic, which strangled the entire usual life of mankind and directly affected the development of football. Today, a picture of crowded stands or the embrace of fans unknown to each other seems to be some kind of alternative reality. Something incredible and almost fantastic.
But this is not the case everywhere – for example, certainly not in Israel, where the vaccination process is the most advanced and widespread. Already more than 80 percent of the population (over 16 years old) received at least one dose of the vaccine, about 55% – two doses. In a country whose population is almost equal to that of Portugal, but the population density is four times higher, the number of new cases is single, and on April 23, for the first time in ten months, not a single death from coronavirus was recorded.
What’s going on in football? Here, too, normal life is gradually returning. After a year of absence of the public in the stands, in March the stadiums became accessible again, albeit with some restrictions. However, every day the limits are getting smaller, and there is a hope that soon they will finally fall.