Sport - important enough for the government to lend its support

Football action, but no fans - it's been tough for all sports Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Football action, but no fans - it's been tough for all sports Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

The problem with sport – football in particular - is, it’s so darned popular.

Sport plays a huge part in all our lives. It markets itself well, it provides an escape from the daily grind and, for many, a weekend’s worth of distraction from the office.

It used to be fun. Now it’s serious. And that’s where its problems begin to surface. Because of its popularity it has become a phenomenon. What other activities aside from sports attracts tens of thousand of people into the same venue every weekend? Rock concerts every once in a while. But not every weekend. Guaranteed. At dozens and dozens of venues the length and breadth of the land.

No wonder sport’s collective eyebrows are raised when the government talks of restrictions brought about by the only thing aside from war and weather that can bring sport to a standstill: the coronavirus pandemic.

Peacetime interruption of that magnitude only echoes the view that sport is big time. It isn’t games any more.


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Covid-prompted government intervention puts it all on hold, which is why so many listened to every utterance from the PM’s mouth as he announced measures to curb the growing infection rate.

Sports were just getting to grips with ways of returning to normal, with test events designed to prove the utmost care was being taken.

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It needs to because sport has to get back on to an even keel; tens of millions of pounds of revenue has already been lost. More will go down the drain.

But like Norwich City’s comprehensive white paper on a careful return to Carrow Road for season tickets holders, Covid-19 is no respecter of people, or plans. Just when you thought it was a lot safer to go back to football, Covid-19 has given us its version of football’s counter-attack. It is not done yet.

The government hasn’t helped itself with the muddled return to spectator attendance at non league football grounds: it’s been plain daft to allow fans into some games and not others.

But now is the time for sport to prove it is worthy of its standing and importance in our society by acting sensibly, not flouting rules, nor cutting corners. In return, the government must acknowledge sport’s importance by providing financial assistance to organisations and individuals which may not see this period in our history through to the other side.

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