Los Angeles County has declared a state of emergency on Wednesday following the first death of a Californian due to the Coronavirus. While the growing spread of the virus is a concern to us all, depending on how things shake out this could have knock-on effects in many aspects of life we take for granted, like live sporting events.
The Los Angeles Times’ Kevin Baxter tweeted out on Wednesday afternoon that teams in the county have been advised by public health officials that games could be played behind closed doors or canceled altogether, all the way up to professional level:
Sports teams in L.A. County, including @LAFC and the @LAGalaxy, have been warned they may be asked to cancel games or play them in empty stadiums after the county declared a health emergency Wednesday to deal with the coronavirus (1/2)— Kevin Baxter (@kbaxter11) March 4, 2020
At the same time, Baxter followed up that message with a note from the source that they are monitoring the situation and there’s no imminent plans to go to extreme situations like that, but it could happen.
(2/2) But that is a worst-case scenario: County health director Barbara Ferrer: "This could be that games are played but there are no spectators. This could be that there are limits to how people are going to gather... But I want to reassure everyone we are not there today.”— Kevin Baxter (@kbaxter11) March 4, 2020
Officials are cautioning the empty-stadium option is a worst-case scenario. @LAFC and @LAGalaxy games this weekend are expected to go forward before sold-out stadiums. There are no changes at this time. So keep calm and carry on. We will post a full story soon— Kevin Baxter (@kbaxter11) March 4, 2020
So what does that mean? We’d have to see what happens, obviously, perhaps this scenario will never come to light because the ebb of the coronavirus fades and mass public health concerns recede.
But it could happen, with news abroad, including Italian authorities announcing on Wednesday that all games, including those of Serie A, will be played behind closed doors for a month in an effort to stem the Coronavirus tide in Italy, means we’re seeing a scenario like this elsewhere right now, not in the theoretical future.
Breaking: All sporting events in Italy will take place without fans present for at least the next month due to the coronavirus outbreak in the country, the Italian government announced on Wednesday. pic.twitter.com/cyDkv4p5Up— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 4, 2020
In MLS, closed-door matches are pretty much unheard of. Occasionally MLS teams play continental games behind closed doors because their opponent is being punished for disruptive/violent/racist fans, but MLS itself hasn’t had to deal with that in recent years.
However, it could still happen, if coronavirus takes off locally. And if it’s really bad, LA Galaxy games could be postponed indefinitely or perhaps cancelled altogether, which would be pretty catastrophic, both for soccer reasons and because conditions in everyday life are pretty bad!
So let’s hope it doesn’t come to that. Practice good hygiene and be smart about illness around you, know this could affect Galaxy games, but don’t freak out, let’s conquer coronavirus and this shouldn’t affect soccer in Los Angeles.
And for now, Saturday’s home opener is still on at Dignity Health Sports Park.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!