Empty stands at stadiums around the world ushered in a new year that created the same uncertainties facing world soccer.
With a second wave of COVID-19 ravaging many nations, and even maintaining competitions without interruption remains a challenge.
Efforts were made across Europe to get crowd numbers back to football, but this was largely unsuccessful by the end of the decade. Matches in all of Europe’s major leagues will be played on a quiet surface, free from the feelings that the playing field is built on.
Holding the show on the road – before the widespread implementation of vaccinations – is the priority of competition promoters to prevent lengthy breaks without matches, which may lead to expensive refunds to broadcasters.
Football was played on during the Christmas season. However, with the league currently reporting a record number of coronavirus cases, ensuring practices and games don’t spread infection should be of utmost importance.
“I know it might not be nice to say, but these are tough times for everyone,” Chelsea manager Frank Lampard said Friday. “We enjoy watching our soccer, but safety and health have to come first.”
It has been shown that no matter how often governing bodies like UEFA express their determination not to be thrown off course by a virus outbreak, the viral outbreak will inevitably take their decisions out of their control.
The delayed European Championship remains in limbo. Before determining if it’s a good idea to allow fans to watch games, UEFA will need to decide where the games will be played.
Logistics became a challenge for the Euros as the games were played in 12 different cities and stadiums in Europe. New alternatives are being discussed that could greatly decrease the number of venues if the situation doesn’t change dramatically.
To host the postponed Gold Cup and Copa América tournaments in the Americas in June and July, the tournaments will be shielded from an outbreak of the coronavirus.
As if providing a 24-team tournament in Europe during a pandemic wasn’t time-consuming enough, UEFA is now faced with a new dynamic scenario. The future of the league competition remains challenging as the league has been in a dispute about the format of the competition.
The infighting amongst European soccer continued until the end of 2020.