carnegieXchange: School of Sport

COVID-19 v Euro 2020

EURO 2020, UEFA’s flagship international event is under threat due to #COVID19.

Published on 11 Mar 2020

Euro 2020 was designed to demonstrate the cultural togetherness and fluidity of the Eurozone, spanning across 12 countries to mark 60 years of competition. Indeed, by-proxy the tournament also celebrates the network society of modern Europe and the virtues of the European Union – especially freedom of movement.

A networked society sees unprecedented movements of people, growing connectivity, globalised operations, and effortless travel across geographic borders. As such, it emphasises the vital importance of networks and how people are connected.

Below, the network map demonstrates this networked society documenting movements for teams and fans across the different host cities throughout the EURO 2020 tournament. The map illustrates a highly structured network of cities and the significant movement of people across the Eurozone.

Often, we find that football provides small answers to big problems in society, with these societal problems testing football’s virtues (for example; mental health, gambling, racism, sexism, populism). Similarly, the Eurozone’s virtues are increasingly being tested by political dissidence across Europe, the rise in popularism and the well documented Brexit. However, the recent Coronavirus outbreak trumps them all highlighting the fragility of Europe’s structure and the complex networked society its populous reside in.

As football begins to respond to the challenges posed by the virus, including the postponement of English Premier League football matches, the risk of Euro2020 is firmly on the radar.

To conclude, if we take the Euro2020 map above, and add in a transmissible disease like Coronavirus, we can quickly see how the virus could contaminate UEFA’s most precious competition and the health of the continent. In fact, the structure of the competition is ultimately its weakness. If the reported high mortality rates are correct, then the competition must surely be in danger of happening at all, with almost two months before teams will pitch up in training camps.

As society embraces an inter-connective network, it leaves itself vulnerable to pandemics, as the Euro2020 structure so plainly illustrates.

Data sources from UEFA.

Dr Alexander Bond

Senior Lecturer / Carnegie School Of Sport

Alexander Bond is a Senior Lecturer in Sport Management and leads the MSc Sport Business Management. He also leads the Management and Governance Theme for the Research Centre of Social Justice in Sport and Society.

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