With 2020 coming to an end, many people cannot help but wonder what 2021 will have instore. We have all seen the impact the virus has had regarding physical and mental health as well as the health of global economies. Many businesses around the world have been hit hard by the regulations implemented by various governments to control the spreading of the virus. Among the organizations who have been hit hard are football clubs and sports clubs in general.

To this day, stadiums are empty in certain places and in others only a few thousand are allowed access. In addition to this, government lockdowns and flight bans caused football players in the summer to lose out on opportunities for trial periods at clubs. Furthermore, the virus caused a restriction on the freedom of movement for athletes, coaches and club employees, however, it seems that 2021 may provide a glimpse of hope with the introduction of a vaccine for the virus.

With countries such as Israel, England and America having already started with vaccinating, many are looking to follow their lead early next year. The EU have mostly begun their vaccinations, with the Netherlands beginning on the 8th Jan, it seems 2021 may prove to be a brighter year than 2020. The question still remains though, will we return to normal next year? Will the regulations become less strict? Will we be able to have full football/sport stadiums and will we have more consistent football fixtures across the globe?

The reality is that most of the world will not miraculously switch back to normal, however, with the vaccine being mass produced and made available, the effects of the virus will be lessened. Most of the vaccines will be given to essential workers and people who are at most risk as these are the most important people who need to be vaccinated first. When people are inoculated with the vaccine, more people will be able to fight against the virus. The vaccination will not cure the virus neither will it prevent the spreading of it, similar to the common flu. The point of the vaccine though is to help with the fighting of it and helping more people not become sick because of it.

As stated most countries are looking to start early next year with vaccinations, however, poorer countries are behind in regards to purchasing it and gaining access to it. In countries such as South Africa and Brazil only a small percentage (less than 25%) of the populations will receive the vaccine. This means that even though the vaccine has been created, the majority of citizens in developing countries will not immediately receive immunity from the COVID-19 virus. Developing countries, such as South Africa and Brazil, will continue to deal with the virus and the affects it has had thus far in 2021.

What does this mean for football and sports in general?

Football will more than likely continue the current method it has followed for the beginning months of 2021 due to the fact that even though many people will have received the vaccine, there will still be many more who have not received it. This results in the virus still being spread and people still getting sick because of it. Also if essential workers and high risk citizens receive the vaccines first, it may also mean that football players, sport athletes and normal citizens will only be treated later in 2021. Therefore sport will have to continue the current trend as it has for the past few months. With large sporting events happening in the summer of 2021, such as the European Championships and the Olympics, it will be interesting to see what is done regarding spectators, especially international spectators flying from all over the world. 

The 2021 European Championship will be hosted in 12 countries meaning that each country will have to take into account their corona virus handling situation when hosting the event. With easy cross border travelling in Europe, will all European countries allow their citizens to travel and will host nations want to receive them? As with most situations revolving around the virus, it is difficult to predict what the circumstances and situation will be next year in the summer. It will, however, require governments within the EU to ensure that they vaccinate as many patients as possible to lessen the effects of the virus. In addition, to ensure that the regulations are held to and abided so that the virus is kept under control. Will developing countries who begin with their vaccinations late be allowed to fly to the host nations of the European Championships? What happens if there are new corona virus mutations like we currently see in England and South Africa? Will flight bans or stronger regulations be placed on countries where few people have been vaccinated? 

There are many questions that could be asked, however, there are not many definite answers that can be given. Each country will have to handle the Corona Virus their own way and each country will have to determine how sports will proceed when vaccinations become available for ordinary citzens. One thing that we can look forward to is the introduction of vaccinations all over the world and that the virus will be overcome eventually. By following the regulations, minimizing our contact with people and keeping our distance we can already create a better 2021 for us all.

As we end of this year, we at Evytal want to ask our readers to look forward to 2021 with a positive mindset. We also want to thank you all for your support throughout this year and from all of us we wish to say Happy New Year, Gelukkige Nuwejaar, Fijne Jaarwissleing, Iniya Putthandu Vazhlthukkal and Feliz Ano Novo.