Stockholm is the worst coronavirus area in Sweden. By Wednesday afternoon, more than 3,500 confirmed coronavirus infections had been recorded in the Swedish metropolitan area. There were more than 400 deaths in the Stockholm area, which is more than 60 percent of all disease victims in Sweden.
And the pandemic in Sweden is expected to get worse in the coming weeks - as will, of course, Stockholm.
When virtually all of the world’s sports have come to a halt due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Stockholm Football Association, under the Swedish Football Association, is swimming upstream.
Stockholm will soon be almost the only corner of Europe where official football matches are played.
Namely, on Wednesday, the Stockholm Football Association made a really surprising and even irresponsible-sounding decision: the football teams in the Stockholm area will start spinning according to the original game schedule on the weekend after Easter on April 17th!
Applies to thousands of players
The Stockholm Football Association StFF announced the decision on its website. The decision concerns the regional subdivisions of men and women as well as the junior and senior men's series. So that means that in just over a week, thousands of Stockholmers will scurry in crowds on the fields after the ball.
Football could be imagined to be a sport suitable for the spread of the coronavirus than knocked: the recommended safety distance of a couple of meters is impossible to maintain, the game entails a lot of close contact and sweat, and possibly aerosol clouds from sneezing and coughing can move from player to player.
Even the Swedish Football Association, on the recommendation of the health authorities, has appealed to its regional organizations to postpone the start of their series long enough for the summer. Last week, the StFF decided to go ahead with the others first and postpone the start of the regional series but spun its sled with Wednesday’s decision.
The main reason, according to the Stockholm Football Association, was that, according to experts, playing matches is not a significant risk of infection or illness.
- We have been in direct contact with experts and those in charge of the National Institute of Public Health about how both exercises and matches can affect the spread of the infection. After the discussions, it became clear that football activities will have only a marginal effect on the spread of the infection, the Stockholm Football Association said in a statement.
However, the StFF emphasizes that players with any symptoms should not be allowed to play.
If a team does not want to play, the opponent wins the surrender. However, the series rules have been relaxed so that even multiple assignments do not result in exclusion from the series. In addition, if a team notifies at least three business days before the start of a match that it does not intend to play, it will avoid the referee fee.
At the same time, however, StFF reminds that if a team refuses to play, the opposing team must respect the decision.
Matches can only be postponed with the consent of both teams and if a new game day is found before July 15th.
StFF adds that the maximum audience for matches is set at 50 spectators, changing rooms should not be used, and game equipment should be changed up and away either at home or outdoors. Hand hygiene is emphasized. It is also emphasized that players do not drink from the same beverage bottle.