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South Korea Football League is ‘Back to Life’

South Korea Football League is ‘Back to Life’

The eyes of the football world will be on the Jeonju World Cup Stadium in Korea on Friday night when South Korea’s K-League becomes the first major competition to resume following the coronavirus shutdown.

With most leagues worldwide sidelined by the pandemic, the K-League is the first competition of any standing to come back to life, and a host of safety precautions have been imposed, with wild goal celebrations and even talking discouraged.

The long-delayed season-opener between defending champions Jeonbuk Motors and Cup-holders Suwon Bluewings will be watched by sport-starved fans in a swathe of foreign countries, even though spectators are not yet allowed at K-League games.

Ahead of the match only the media section of the stadium, which hosted three games of the 2002 World Cup, was occupied, and rather than cheers of anticipation, the only sound was chatter among journalists and staff.

A worker trims the grass on the field at the Jeonju World Cup Stadium before Friday’s game between Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors and Suwon Samsung Bluewings. Image Source: AP

Paper sheets taped to stadium seats spelled out “#C_U_SOON” and “STAY STRONG,” while one end was draped in a giant green banner for the Mad Green Boys, the Jeonbuk fan club.

The match, played under stringent safety guidelines, is the first glimpse of post-virus football, and similar scenes are likely elsewhere as other leagues get underway.

All personnel entering the stadium had their temperatures checked and were required to wear facemasks, and hand sanitisers were located throughout the venue.

Players have been told to avoid excessive goal celebrations, handshakes, close-talking, and blowing their noses.

With fans around the world long deprived of live sport, the K-League has signed season-long rights deals with broadcasters who will show games live in 36 countries and territories, including Britain, Germany, and Australia.

Tags : COVID-19covid19footballFootball LeagueGlobal PandemicK-LeagueSouth koreasports

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