Holding major sporting events would be unrealistic, WHO warns
Share article:
Share article:

Holding major sporting events would be unrealistic, WHO warns

© Belga

Holding sporting events that attract large crowds in countries affected by the spread of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) is unrealistic, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said this week.

In such circumstances, allowing the holding of matches to be attended by tens of thousands of people could be “disastrous,” WHO Health Emergencies Director Michael Ryan said on Wednesday.

Asked, at a discussion broadcast live on social media by the WHO, about a possible date for the resumption of major sporting events, the Irish epidemiologist said that was impossible to predict.

With large crowds of 40,000 to 60,000 people, the risk of being infected exists not only in the stands, but also when going to the stadium in public transport, and in bars and clubs, he explained.

He stressed that it could be disastrous to take the current problems with health risks in bars, then condense them into five or six hours in which thousands of people take the same public transport to an area, then become involved in a match, and all the ensuing social aspects.

Thinking that such big matches can be held this year in countries with local COVID-19 transmission, “is very unrealistic,” he added.

The Tokyo Olympics and European Championship have been shifted from this year to 2021, while the norm this year is matches behind closed doors in major championships such as the Champions League and English Premier League.

Ryan said that it could perhaps be possible to shift from closed-door fixtures to matches watched by 1,000 to 2,000 persons as things start reopening. Everyone wants sports to return, but the situation still needs to be monitored a little more, he cautioned.

The Brussels Times

Latest news

Increase in number of people ‘asking King for mercy’ through royal pardons
More and more people living in Belgium have been seeking royal pardons, mainly for fines, largely as a result of it now being possible to send in ...
England now accepting cheaper Covid tests from fully vaccinated travellers
Fully vaccinated travellers who enter England from non-red countries will only be required to book a lateral flow test to take following their ...
Re-introducing face masks indoors considered as Covid-19 situation worsens
Belgium's council of ministers will hold an emergency meeting on Monday to discuss the worsening epidemiological situation, and reintroducing face ...
Federal museums to receive €2.9 million booster shot
Federal museums will receive an additional €2.9 million in support from the government for the fiscal year 2021, of which the first payouts will be ...
European Parliament emphasises healthy food and animal welfare in EU Farm to Fork Strategy
The European Parliament adopted this week a resolution on the EU Farm to Fork Strategy calling for a fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly food ...
Threats of strike action could affect Brussels’ STIB network from Monday
Brussels public transport operator STIB's trams, buses and metros could be affected from Monday 25 October onwards as the union representing the ...
Number of international adoptions in Belgium continues to drop
The number of regulated international adoptions authorised by Belgium further dropped in 2020, continuing an ongoing decreasing trend. Last ...
Disaster drill with emergency services held at Brussels Airport
Around 300 people took part in a disaster drill held was organised on Saturday by Brussels Airport in collaboration with external emergency services ...
Austria presents bill to legalise euthanasia
Austria’s government on Saturday presented its proposals for legalising assisted suicide, in response to a Constitutional Court ruling that the ...
Brussels’ Museum Night Fever draws in some 12,000 visitors
Some 12,000 participants took part in the 14th edition of Museum Night Fever in Brussels, with the 29 participating museums filled to the maximum ...
Relaunch of 10,000 steps campaign to get Flemish people moving
The Flemish government is breathing new life into its 10,000 steps campaign to get people in the region moving after a recent survey found that a ...
‘No scientific basis’ for giving everyone third dose, vaccine expert says
The head of Belgium's Vaccination Taskforce has argued that there is not enough scientific evidence to support the Flemish government's decision to ...