Sport

Covid-19 impacting sport beyond what you think

Apr 5, 2021 01:04 By Dave Hooper
Covid-19 impacting sport beyond what you think Covid-19 impacting sport beyond what you think
The Short Corner Column by Dave Hooper
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So covid-19 has caused a couple of good stories in the last seven days. Leinster against Toulon, the Dublin training session and then Ireland

So covid-19 has caused a couple of good stories in the last seven days.

Leinster against Toulon, the Dublin training session and then Ireland women versus Brazil in a friendly international all under the narrative of covid-19.

We’ve been living with covid-19 for more than 12 months now, so impacts are no big, surprise it’s the manner of the impact, its own covert operation that’s intriguing.

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Friday night should have seen Leinster face Toulon in the Heineken champion’s cup last-16, but low and behold an outbreak of covid in the Toulon camp and the game didn’t kick-off.

That seems like an open and shut case, but it wasn’t that simple, well not according to the Toulon president Bernard Lemaître who labelled the decision “disgusting” and “a scandal”, claiming the team had been given permission to travel in spite of the positive Covid-19 case.

It has emerged that European professional rugby told Toulon the fixture could potentially be postponed until Sunday but only if six other front-row players considered to have been in closest contact with the affected individual were stood down. In a statement Toulon described this request as “an obvious sporting impossibility” and expressed “amazement” at the governing body’s proposal.

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“This is once again proof of the errors linked to the organisation of European competitions,” said the statement. “Rugby Club Toulonnais strongly deplores this decision and sends its thoughts to all its supporters who were impatiently awaiting this match.”

The rules where very clear in the European competition, if covid struck your camp and you couldn’t fulfil you’re fixture, then out you went!

Complaining about covid-19 regulations on the surface of it, looks a bit bizarre, the rules are quiet clear. Even though Toulon think they have a case to fight, it was Toulon who refused to play Llanelli earlier in the tournament, due to a covid outbreak in the Welsh camp.

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Double standards you may say?

A similar situation erupts with the Dublin Gaelic football team. Caught red handed by the paparazzi last Wednesday and becoming the talking point of the country on Thursday morning.

The echo chamber of social media cried foul. Dessie Farrell was suspended, not just for being caught out but for admitting it!

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Yet Dublin fans and GAA fans cited unconfirmed reports of other inter-county teams training during lockdown as defence for Farrell and Dublin’s sins.

“It isn’t cheating if you don’t get caught!” cried the former WWE commentator Jessie “the body” Ventura.

There is some validity to that one, but the Dubs were caught. “If you do the crime, you have to do the time” Ventura also said! We’ve yet to see what the time is!

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Then there was the case of the Ireland women’s senior soccer team, a team which has never qualified for a major soccer tournament.

As their 2023 World qualifying campaign is warming-up for kick-off, along comes the revelation that Brazil “Marta Neymar” and all were unable to come to Ireland for a friendly international.

Ireland manager Vera Pauw, in situ since October 2019 has yet to manage a friendly fixture. It turns out Brazil boss Pia Sundhage fancied a game in Dublin, a measure of how Ireland have improved according to Pauw.

Yet the Dutch woman was quick to point out that the FAI had not turned down the offer, it was simply not allowed due to covid regulations. The same regulations which held her back from travelling for a proposed camp earlier this year!

Covid has a funny way of impacting on us all. Cancelling games and suspending managers in one straight week of sports reporting.

Yet its impact on the games being played is possibly not as analysed as we once thought of it.

11 games into his tenure as Ireland manager and Stephen Kenny is still looking for his first victory!

Not a good record, 10 of those games have been played in-front of an attendance of zero! Kenny has yet to even hear one voice in the Lansdowne roar.

It is very possible if Ireland perform poorly or worse in friendly games against Hungary and Andorra this summer, the FAI may cut their losses and Kenny will never have heard a home supporter in Dublin, miles away from his long held image of managing Ireland.

The absent fans have hurt Ireland; the Stephen Kenny brigade shout. The famous Lansdowne Roar, the greatest fans in the world are silent and it’s hurting Ireland.

Or is it saving Stephen Kenny?

Mick McCarthy, Stephen Staunton, Giovanni Trapattoni and Martin O’Neill have all had their teams booed off whether it be Lansdowne Road, Croke Park or the Aviva Stadium, even booed off at half-time, even for the wrong reasons.

Would the fans if they were there be accepting of no wins from 11 games or Kenny’s Ireland not yet finding the net in a home international?

Covid has caused uproar with training, matches and even without us noticing it in games. Covid doesn’t care for boarders, age or race they tell us.

We shouldn’t let Covid cloud our judgement of something that is wrong or going very wrong.

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