Player welfare is at the heart of the growing ‘global’ Corona Virus alerts. Affecting more and more International and domestic leagues, it is unprecedented in its reach – from Asia to Europe, and is becoming a concern to every player and their families.
With the reports from BBC Sport detailing postponements to several Guinness PRO14 fixtures in Italy, the news has just been announced that the Japan Top League will be suspending its competition, until the virus’ impact can be determined.
Japan, being a conservative nation [as such] has taken this measure for the Japan Top League, as well as the J-League, to suspend the competition. J1 football has put the entire season on hold; with a plan to reassess the situation by March 15.
*Japan Rugby Top League Important Announcement*
Due to concerns related to the spread of Coronavirus, Japan Rugby Top League matches scheduled for this weekend and next, will be postponed.
— Japan Rugby (@JRFURugby) February 26, 2020
Such are the questions – known, and unknown – that individual choice, and especially player wellness is at the heart of every team’s ability to travel and to find the motivation to play. Core values, responsibilities of management and that of the group mean the right decision must be made [early].
All this follows on from the World Rugby judgment to reschedule the Asian leg of the HSBC Sevens Series.
Player welfare at heart of ‘global’ Corona Virus alerts
There is nothing more alarming to any traveling sports person than an ‘unknown’ illness. It could be just a faint idea, however, with the
Any industry has to protect the welfare of its employees. So when a sport like rugby has a degree of exposure to the regions or teams who have traveled to, or transited through any port at risk, the decision is clear. Infection is a concern for the players, as well as fans (see main image). Not to mention personal and corporate Insurers.
Player welfare is the key though, and quite rightly.
So as Japan’s sports world looks to combat the spread of a new coronavirus, the restrictions on team movements, and on fans attending sports gatherings (that could be a hotbed for contagious diseases). The right thing to do is to limit that risk.
— Planet Rugby (@PlanetRugby) February 26, 2020
The one event that is now under the closest examination is the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. With are higher volume of participation, the risk to the individual and to player welfare is on a level that must be considered in the widest terms. So as the origin and the spread of the Coronavirus become emblematic, and has almost become pandemic in its status, the International Olympic Committee is under huge pressure.
Postponing the Japan Pro League, and aiming to reschedule many rugby games – including a Six Nations fixture (if that decision is made to) – is a positive action that rugby union can be proud of.
Many games may not be played. Nobody can blame organizers for those decisions, to protect player welfare. But with the unknown factor of a global virus at the forefront of World News, that is the unquestioned right call to make.
Coronavirus – What are the symptoms?
The main signs of infection are fever (high temperature) and a cough as well as shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.
What should you do?
Frequent handwashing with soap or gel, avoiding close contact with people who are ill and not touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands can help cut the risk of infection.
Catching coughs and sneezes in a tissue, binning it and washing your hands can minimize the risk of spreading disease.
Last Word on Rugby will follow the International and domestic competitions and the impact that Coronavirus has on the continuing sports story, as it transpires.
“Main photo credit”
Embed from Getty Images