Sport is a significant contributor to a society’s economic and social growth, and its importance is widely acknowledged in various fields. The COVID-19 pandemic has spread to practically every country on the planet since it began. Regular parts of life, including sports, have been disturbed by social and physical distancing measures, as well as a lockdown of total social life. The global economic downturn brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic has altered the sports sector in unimaginable ways. Sport’s economic structure has shifted around the world.
The series between India and South Africa was called off because of the pandemic. The IPL, the world’s most popular cricket league, was cancelled owing to the second wave of COVID-19. The BCCI, broadcasters, and teams have all lost at least Rs 3000 crore as a result of the IPL’s discontinuation. Around 600 staff were hired by all IPL franchises combined. Their jobs have been impacted as a result of the lack of money. There’s also the Star Sports broadcast deal, which may net the company around Rs 1500 crore. More than the discontinuation of the IPL, the Indian economy is being harmed by the breakup of the sports-supporting sectors.
Football had been put on pause as well. In Goa, the Indian Super League (ISL) was played in an empty stadium. The I-League season came to a standstill on March 15 and was eventually called off with 23 games left. The FIFA Women’s World Cup for Under-17s, which was set to take place in India in November 2020, has been postponed indefinitely. The rest of India’s World Cup qualifications have been postponed.
Badminton came to a standstill after a barrage of criticism. The All England Championship, which took place in March, was the last tournament in which Indian players competed. There had been accusations that the BWF, the sport’s world federation, was placing athletes in danger. Since then, the BWF has cancelled all of its scheduled tournaments for the next three months. India was scheduled to play Latvia in a Fed Cup playoff in April, however, the match was postponed. With the number of tennis events decreasing, there has been fear that lower-ranked players who rely on competitions will be financially harmed. Wimbledon has been cancelled, while the French Open has been postponed until September 20.
For the first time in modern sports history, the Olympics and Paralympics have been postponed in 2020. It was still unclear whether the Tokyo Olympics would take place this year. Fortunately, the Tokyo Olympics were a success. The cancellation of the Olympics would have harmed both Indian and international athletes’ careers. Track and field athletes had a stressful time because important events are scheduled for summer 2022, and they were unable to practice at the stadiums due to lockdown.
Other sports, such as Archery, have been cancelled, as have forthcoming World Cups. The Boxing World Cup, which was set to take place in Cologne, Germany from June 17 to June 20, has been cancelled. The Shooting World Cup, which was scheduled to begin in March in New Delhi, has been postponed. Except for India and a few other countries, hockey was a hand-to-mouth existence even before the pandemic.
For the time being, we have to live with the COVID-19 menace. The pandemic has had and will continue to have a significant impact on sports as well as people’s physical and mental health around the world. The first step toward resuming normalcy may be for the various sporting organisations to meet with the administration and discuss their road maps.
Returning to normalcy will take time; for the time being, sports will be held in empty stadiums, with a focus on improving people’s viewing experiences. Government and intergovernmental organisations must provide guidance to sports federations around the world in preparation for future sporting events and safe working conditions. This would enable the stakeholders to collaborate as a team to address current difficulties and facilitate future sporting events in a secure and entertaining setting.