The return to play of the professional sports leagues around the world has largely passed off without incident in most of Europe as soccer has made its return to action in Spain, Italy, and England. In the U.S., concerns are growing over the return to play of all the major sporting leagues outside of the NHL as decisions to hold tournaments in Florida have caused concern for NBA and MLS players. A prolonged negotiation period has seen Major League Baseball finally agree to return to action, but problems with tests are causing concerns for many teams as they plan for a return to full practice.
The COVID-19 pandemic struck just as Major League teams were planning their return to spring training with many fearing the cancellation of the entire 2020 season as the U.S. became the global Coronavirus hotspot for the world. Over the course of the last few months, the players union and owners of teams have been in prolonged negotiations to ensure the players, staff members, and their families feel safe and comfortable with the precautions that have been put into place for them.Read More »
As the testing period moved forward, the problems associated with them began to buildup and be reported to the media with the Oakland A’s becoming particularly vocal in their annoyance. The procedures that were due to take place for the A’s was completed, but the Major League authorities had failed to make provision for the travel and lab issues that would be associated with the 4th of July vacation. The Oakland A’s were forced to cancel their first full practice when they had failed to hear any results and later revealed their tests had not left California for Utah by that Monday morning.
The A’s were not the only team facing the prospect of canceling their first full practice with their position players arriving at their facilities for the first time. The Washington Nationals are another team facing many issues with tests as the restart has been placed in doubt by players voicing their concerns. The Nationals explained their players and staff members had waited for a full 72 hours and had received no notice of the results of their tests. The League remains a long way from starting games with the Nationals staff taking the second round of tests without knowing whether they had tested positive for the virus.
In the last few months, the administering of Coronavirus tests in Europe has been praised by followers of the major soccer leagues who have already resumed play and competitive games. Soccer has already been undertaken in Spain, Italy, and England where the Premier League has been conducting tests for its players and staff members at high levels and returning impressive results. The last round of testing in England’s top division took in 2,250 members of the playing and coaching staff at Premier League clubs returning zero positive tests.
The return of the nation’s pastime to the Summer calendar for American sporting enthusiasts has now been put in doubt by problems with the procedures that have been put in place by those in charge of the planned return. COVID tests were not even administered for the Angels squad because testers did not arrive at either their stadium or practice facility. The decision was eventually taken by players and staff members to administer their tests in a bid to keep the restart on track.
The issue of quickly and efficiently identifying those affected by the virus is seen by health experts as the only way to see the nation return to some form of sporting normality. NASCAR has already announced the return of some fans to race tracks across the U.S. with other sporting associations yet to make clear their plans for this aspect of their game. Despite many fans being desperate to return to the field the current focus is on health screenings for all players and staff taking place twice per day. At these intervals players and staff members have their temperatures checked and are examined for other symptoms. Whatever happens, the return of baseball has not been as smooth sailing as the return of soccer has been across Europe.
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