A recent question asked whether or not the NFL would be ready for September as other major US sporting events were looking set to return for the end of July and the start of August, and whilst many of those are still on track to do so there has been a little bad news for football as the September date outlined may be a little too optimistic.
It had recently been announced that 72 NFL players had tested positive for the coronavirus ahead of the September 10th season kickoff, although it hadn’t been made clear who the players are or which teams they play for, to many it is still an alarming number and with a number of the teams in hotspot areas there is a lot of speculation that these numbers could continue to rise – if more players do contract the virus there is the very real possibility that the season could be delayed or cancelled entirely if too many teams are impacted by this. Players were set to return to training camps on July 28th in hopes of taking strides toward a return to normal, and there have been a growing number of negotiations around COVID-19 protocols including how to handle players who may contract the virus. There have been methods put in place for other major sporting events such as can be seen with the NBA and the bio-secure environment it has tried to create in Orlando, but it may take some time to discover the effectiveness of this and will require a monumental effort to ensure every team within the NFL can stay safe during the crisis.
There is some good news for punters with other sporting events coming back in a big way however as it at least allows some form of entertainment to return at a time where so many things seem to be going wrong, despite recent regulation change to initiatives such as Gamstop which had been aimed at making some services more difficult to access for problem players, a growing number of betting sites and non uk casinos are being registered elsewhere to avoid these changes and operate as normal – these same sites will provide a growing number of players with a platform once sporting events do return.
For football itself however, it is now just the waiting game – there is a little over a month for strategies to be put into place to ensure player safety and to ensure sporting events can return on the scale set out, there are also factors that haven’t been addressed yet such as fan attendance for these games as many are hoping that they will be able to attend live games in September, but if numbers continue to increase much in the way they have been within the US then that in itself may be extremely unlikely until the new year if the pandemic can be brought under control by that point in time – it’s a long road, with a lot to figure out, with many questions remaining.