Sports in Quebec are controlled differently than elsewhere during the pandemic

Soccer is one sports where the province differs in its COVID-19 restrictions

With most of Quebec in the red zone, new regulations have been put in place by the Quebec government to curb the spread of COVID-19: restricting private gatherings, access to restaurants, recreational activities, organized sports, and much more.

With these restrictions put in place, the Montreal Impact soccer club had to cease all activities for 30 days starting Oct. 8, stating on their website that they will continue to monitor the situation and support the measures of protection given by the government.

Before these new rules came into play, the Impact was the first club in Major League Soccer (MLS) to have fans allowed inside their stadium ― the Saputo Stadium, which has a maximum capacity of 20,801 ― allowing 250 fans per game following the ease of Quebec public health restrictions in late August.

With COVID-19 cases increasing since the beginning of the fall, rising from roughly 150 new cases per day at the start of September to roughly 950 cases per day at the beginning of October, the Impact quickly followed health and safety guidelines, and shut down their facility for the 28-day semi-lockdown ordered by the Quebec government.

In contrast with Quebec, Germany has fewer restrictions for its first and second division soccer leagues ― the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2. With COVID-19 cases slowly increasing, Germany has had 15,580 new confirmed cases from Oct. 8 to 12.

The restrictions there have largely stayed the same since the beginning of the pandemic: entry restrictions for many countries, and if granted entry, self-isolation until a negative test is shown.

German government officials have allowed the Bundesliga to fill 20 per cent of their stadium capacity. Despite rising COVID-19 cases, the Borussia Dortmund stadium, the biggest stadium in Germany with a capacity of 81,365, allowed a sold-out crowd of 11,500 fans on Oct. 3.

The Bundesliga has posted on their website that the German Federal Ministry of Health has given them a basic structure to follow, stating that “the Ministry emphasized that systematic compliance with the highest standards of infection protection is a fundamental requirement for allowing live crowds for football matches again. Allowing fans back in should always depend on the regional trend of infections.”

Without revenue coming in, the Deutsche Fußball Liga (DFL) stated in mid-April that 13 out of 36 Bundesliga clubs were facing financial problems, with Borussia Dortmund alone losing an astounding $49 million.

In comparison to these numbers, the Bundesliga had an all-time high profitable gain from 28 of their 36 clubs last season, achieving $4.7 billion in revenue, 13 per cent of which came from ticket sales.

Financially, the MLS may be thinking correctly by letting a small percentage of their fans in their stadium, but with the current state of the pandemic, shutting down activities seems necessary.


Graphic by @ariannasivira

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