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Covid-19: despite the curfew, sport continues … but behind closed doors

The presidential announcements on Wednesday evening, and in particular the curfew at 9 p.m. in Ile-de-France and in eight metropolises, once again plunge the world of sport into expectation. With, as since deconfinement, the double problem of the world of high level and amateur sport. Activity in the maximum alert zone and that in regions spared by the virus, where life will continue on current bases.

After the interview with Emmanuel Macron, the executive announced that professional sporting events could take place at the times already announced, including in the evening, in the nine areas affected by this curfew. “We must ensure the continuity of the activity, there are major economic issues”, explains the Ministry of Sports.

“It’s a new blow”

But in this case, there is no longer any question of a maximum audience of 1000 spectators. All meetings must be held in camera. So the Ligue 1 or Ligue 2 matches scheduled for the evening will take place over the next few weeks. With the gates closed. The same for the moment for the Top 14 or any time slot moves can only be done in agreement with the broadcasters. In basketball or volleyball, the problem is different. Pro clubs do not have TV rights and cannot afford the luxury of playing behind closed doors.

“It’s a new blow, I hope that we can adjust the schedules of the matches which will allow us to welcome the public, wonders Frédéric Donnadieu, general manager of the Nanterre club (Jeep Elite). In the European Cup we will probably not be able to adapt but we can imagine playing in the championship on Saturday or Sunday at 5 or 6 p.m. to allow people to go home with the start of the curfew. Playing in front of an audience is vital for us. The League will not oppose the clubs’ requests.

No more training in the evening for amateurs

Whatever the federation, we navigate between fatalism and pragmatism … “The intervention of the President of the Republic does not change much for us, observes Joël Delplanque, president of the French handball federation. We have already anticipated different scenarios to end the championships. If there is a problem with the curfew, we will play the games earlier. The most important thing is that everyone is willing to play. There is an economic, sporting and human will to go to the end of this season. “

Among the major events announced in the coming weeks, the Rolex Paris Masters of tennis was recently confirmed at the AccorHotels Arena from October 31 to November 8. Even without fans for the night sessions from 7:30 p.m., the tournament should take place. The organizers indeed consider his outfit as essential in terms of the influence of the discipline through the television coverage that is made of it. It will surely be necessary to adjust the programming to play the headliners earlier.

Hundreds of thousands of amateur licensees, on the other hand, will have to give up their training or evening matches …

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