Sport behind closed doors?

As the debates roll on I wonder how people feel about various elite level sports restarting without a crowd?

My personal feeling is that I am struggling to think of sports where crowd interaction is not crucial to the performance and also the pleasure for fans whether they go in person but also for anyone watching or listening. Golf maybe exists in isolation somewhat but the Ryder Cup is an obvious exception. F1 could probably produce most of its usual ‘spectacle’ without crowds, and county cricket (but not T20 or international games) have pretty low crowd numbers most of the time but I’m struggling to think of many more.

Include the issues of any sort of social distancing for athletes and the supporting staff for teams and venues and I am really struggling to see how football, rugby cricket etc can restart and more importantly if it has real value should they have a plan to do so behind closed doors. I know some would say something is better than anything but I am less sure, and potentially placing staff and players at risk seems an issue to me. I know that TV money etc is going to drive these decions a great deal of course.

Extending the discussion, if social distancing becomes the ‘new normal’ until we either have a vaccine or the situation otherwise drastically changes I am struggling to see recreational sports beginning for a very long time even if exceptions are somehow made to facilitate elite levels. The Olympics next year must still be at risk too.


My main interest is football and specifically the English Premier League, and firmly believe that the FA in conjunction with the govt and relevant authorities should make every effort to complete this season. If that means doing it behind closed doors so be it, it’s amongst the least worst options. Football is a massive business whether we like it or not, and the complications and implications of abandoning it are too far reaching - factor in tv money, European competitions and the messy business of promotion relegation and yes Liverpool not being denied what they clearly deserve makes it an unsatisfactory decision if it is all dropped.

Play the necessary games to decide it and then stop, even if it means that meaningless mid-table games for finishing 9th & 10th etc are left hanging. That’s easily resolved by evenly distributing the prize money for mid-table teams.


I am fully understand why,with the financial implications involved,that the temptation of finishing the remaining premier league games seems attractive. However with most matches involving copious amounts of wrestling in the box,every time a set piece is initiated,plus the amount of spitting all over the pitch,which even in normal times I find disgusting,I’m not sure that playing behind closed doors is the answer,at least not as far as the safety of the players is concerned.Surely everyone’s health is more important,the testing available is ,at the moment ,required in far more important areas than sport,only my opinion.


A report the other day claimed that to play a televised PL game with no fans requires about 300 people to do it, with some of those being outside the ground - e.g. broadcast media, press etc. I’m surprised it’s that high tbh but without breaking it down it’s hard to tell.

The absolute basic start point was that all players & playing staff would be tested regularly in the run up to games commencing. There was also a suggestion of playing it in a bubble, with no comings & goings between games until it’s done & dusted.

It can be done, there is a need to start returning to normality and that includes live sport as well as garden centres & DIY outlets. I’d rather they got on with it, if & when it’s safe to do so.

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The safety certification for each ground will define the minimum requirement, which is needed regardless of closed doors and this requires at least one ambulance plus medics at the ground, police etc
Whilst I would like to see the season to finish the use of these valuable resources at this time cannot be justified.

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I disagree. As part of a return to some kind of normality and with the incidences of COVID-19 apparently starting to decline albeit quite slowly, there should be an attempt to step back from insisting that every single part of the NHS is off limits except for this pandemic.

We all have our points of view,but I would personally like to see us the country get through this difficult time without risking a second wave of the virus becoming too much to deal with,both for businesses and the NHS,there’s nothing more important than saving lives.

Without crowds does live sport matter? Can any restarted football season with no crowds and, presumably, sub optimal fitness and training, be anything other than a very meek substitute?

Some European leagues (and Scotland) have called a halt to their seasons, others have not.

It is a very meek substitute, but the FA will be keeping an eye on what happens in Belgium France and The Netherlands where leagues have been called off to see what legal disputes arise.

Aah the lawyers!

I guess I wanted to know what people think about the value, or the relevance of games played with no crowds.

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Hi,as per your previous post I’m not sure that behind closed doors would create the full attitude,atmosphere that the games should merit.Also need to remember that across Europe in recent times,games that have been played behind closed doors,have attracted hundreds if not thousands of fans outside,which in itself defeats the object.

A multi-billion £/$ business with conflicting and competing interests is bound to attract legal differences and legal representation if an external force has a major impact, which it has in this case. Do Belgian and Dutch clubs want to give up lucrative qualification for next season to avoid legal arguments? Are Leeds happy to spend another season trying for promotion? Should Bournemouth be relegated on goal difference with 9 games to play? Football is big business with legal duties - it’s bound to involve legalities.

As I said, it’s amongst the least worst options. We’d all prefer to see Anfield packed as they claim the title much like Leicester v Everton in May 2016 was an unmissable unforgettable experience, but the reality is that it’s in the sport’s best interests as well as being the best way to resolve all the conflicting issues, if the games are played out in empty stadia. It’s far from ideal, but not as far from ideal that abandoning the season now is.

I’d probably watch a few games, but even with the BT & Sky Sports packages we don’t watch every game every weekend. This would be no different - pick & choose which matches are relevant or attractive, in their own different way.

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I think people need to remember there is no second wave to avoid. A second wave is inevitable and history tells us it is almost always worse than the first.

As a football fan (who supports one club and one country but also in the wider sense) I wholly understand @BruceW reasons for posting the question but I think many fans simply won’t care.

Football at the highest level in the UK has been ruthlessly exposed as having no leadership or ethics and the scars of a pandemic last years not weeks or months.

Many fans will never go back. Many will never set foot on public transport ever again. Many will find at the end of furloughing that they’ve no employer to go back to. Many will find debts deferred now will be unpayable months down the line if ever.

I’d expect significant numbers of clubs to simply not survive.

In that context the idea of sport being “important” looks tarnished and the idea of whether it’s watched in the flesh a moot point.


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