From saliva ban to red cards for coughing: Changes brought by COVID-19 in the world of sports

The post-COVID-19 world especially in the sports circuit witnessed a plethora of changes. While the matches, in majority of the tournaments across sports, are being played behind closed doors, there have been significant changes to how sports are being played right now. Not only saliva ban in cricket or socially distant celebrations in football, but other sports have followed the footsteps to keep the risk to minimum. Let's take a look at some of the changes which COVID-19 has brought along with itself in the world of sports.

Introduction of 'bio-secure bubbles'

As cricket resumed after prolonged break due to COVID-19 pandemic, 'bio-secure bubbles' were introduced. The players, coaching staff and broadcasters are locked into the booked hotel and are confined to it during the course of the tournament. This has been followed by other major sports as well barring football. It is the Hilton Garden Inn hotel in the photographs where the West Indies cricket team resided during the recently concluded Test series against England. 

(Photograph:AFP)

Five-substitution rule in football

Post the COVID-19 world, a total of five substitutions were allowed by FIFA and other major European leagues keeping the hectic schedule in mind. Earlier, there used to be just three subs per match for a team which has now been increased to five. This rule will also be followed in the 2020-21 season.

(Photograph:AFP)

High-fives will be 'strongly discouraged'

High fives have been strongly discouraged by the International Cricket Council. While it has not been banned, players are advised to celebrate with fist bumps or elbow claps scrapping the natural high-five celebration. In this photograph, England's bowler David Willey (L) bumps arms with England's Eoin Morgan (C) to celebrate taking the wicket of Ireland's Gareth Delaney (not seen) during the second One Day International cricket match between England and Ireland at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton, southwest England on August 1.

(Photograph:AFP)

Saliva-ban in cricket

The ICC banned the usage of saliva in cricket as it could transmit the virus. While players will not be fined straightaway, umpires can be strict if a player or team is found guilty on regular basis. In this photograph, Umpire Richard Kettleborough (R) watches as Umpire Micheal Gough (2R) uses a wipe to disinfect a bowler's saliva from the ball on the fourth day of the second Test cricket match between England and the West Indies at Old Trafford in Manchester, northwest England on July 19, 2020.

(Photograph:AFP)

Matches behind closed doors

While certain events have allowed reduced crowds, the majority of sports are being played behind-closed-doors given the current situation surrounding the COVID-19. There are talks to allow more crowds in certain tournaments but given that a COVID-19 vaccine has not been developed yet, closed doors matches could continue for the near future at least.

(Photograph:AFP)

COVID-19 change in Football: Red cards for deliberate coughing at opponent or referee

Football players can be shown direct red or yellow cards for deliberately coughing at opponents or match referees under new guidelines issues by Engand’s Football Association (FA) amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

(Photograph:AFP)

Covid-19 substitutions

While concussion substitution has already been allowed for quite some time now, the latest inclusion in the game has been COVID-19 substitution, especially in the Test format of cricket. The same rule will be applied in the upcoming Indian Premier League 2019 where a franchise will be allowed to replace a player if he is tested positive for the virus. 

(Photograph:AFP)