Could the dreaded Coronavirus start to impact UK football games as it has done it Italy? Most probably yes. Chances are fairly good that you hear updates about the impact of the Coronavirus on various industries on a daily basis. Media worldwide is trying their best to report about the virus from every possible angle and government officials have been doing their best to keep people informed.
As the months pass by, we have started to see the impact of the virus on various industries. Tourism was the first industry to report severe consequences. Shortly after the Macau casinos reported to be closed down. Major conferences and events have been postponed and in recent weeks we’ve seen how the virus has started to impact the schedules of major sporting leagues from around the globe.
We have already seen a complete shutdown of Italian Series games, which has led UK sports bettors to start wondering whether the UK Leagues could be impacted. We’ve looked at the facts and figures concerned with this question and summarized it all in the short read below.
The State of Play in the UK
As it currently stands, the Coronavirus has not yet impacted any major football event in the UK. As of the writing of this article, the Premier League football matches are not suspended. This doesn’t mean that there isn’t a direct threat of this happening as there is a daily increase in the number of confirmed cases in the UK. At the time of writing, there have been close to 600 people who have tested positive for the virus in the UK.
This is a far cry from the numbers that we have witnessed in countries such as China, Japan, and now Italy. As is the nature of viruses however, we all know that they can spread quickly which means that we do need to take the necessary precautions.
While the situation appears to be somewhat less serious in the UK right now, there is no guarantee that there won’t be a mass outbreak in the near future. Of course, we would hope that this isn’t the case, but we just never know.
Should we be Worried?
The financial consequences by the coronavirus have already been noticed around the world. The UK stock exchange has reported to be down over 2,000 points in one month (!). Several sports betting operators have reported concerns over the coronavirus impact on their revenue as a result of major sports events being cancelled around the world.
Looking at individual stocks, GVC holdings said 45% of its total revenue in 2019 came from sporting events and are now expecting their earnings to fall with up to £150m. We all realize by now that the Coronavirus does pose a considerable threat to residents all over the world, including the UK. Focusing only on sports events, there are, of course, many external factors that this depends on, such as the NHS leading the country’s defense.
If we are to compare the state of the Coronavirus and its impact on sporting events, we can learn from Italy where confirmed cases now have passed 3,500. Critical voices claim the mass spread of the virus in Italy is due to the failure of the government to quickly close down society.
With this in mind, the debate is no longer focusing on the number of infected that motivate the closure of mass gatherings and sports events. As recently as two weeks ago, few, if any, sports commentators believed that the UK was in any immediate danger of closing down on sports events.
As we entered March, the UK had only 50 confirmed cases of coronavirus, a number not enough to result in football events changing schedules. Two weeks later and the question today is not if, but when.
How things could go from here
The future of how the coronavirus could impact UK society and the sports industry remains on a knife-edge. While it is contained at present, as we have previously mentioned, the situation is constantly changing.
Over the coming weeks, the nation will watch closely for how the number of confirmed cases increases. Of course, in an ideal world, the number of cases would decrease rather than increase, and to reach this scenario we may have to implement actions that will have long term consequences on UK football.
There have been global talks about a vaccine for the virus and even though this is now being tested on the first humans, it will take a considerable length of time before it can roll out to the general population. In the near future, it is up to the NHS and the precautions that they take to immediately control the virus across the nation, and help those infected to recover without infecting others.
If things do start to get worse regarding the outbreak, it will be interesting to see whether the government places travel bans on areas of the world that have seen large numbers of infection rates.
The only thing we can say with certainty about the situation is that the Coronavirus is not something that we should ignore. We all must do our part to ensure that the virus doesn’t proceed to bring the nation to its knees!