‘SPORT without fans isn’t really sport at all – it’s 22 men chasing a ball around, a car going round in circles or two people fighting each other with no reason’.
Those are the arguments I have seen a lot of in recent days, as we appear to move closer to the resumption of sport.
I see their reasoning but we have to face facts – in this Covid-19 world there is every chance there could be no spectators at anything sport related for the rest of this year.
In that context, we have to try and go with it.
I wrote right at the start of this pandemic sport returning can only be considered when it is safe to do so.
If every precaution is taken, tests are available and taken, then it could happen within weeks.
It will though be a completely different experience than what we are used to.
Certain sports, such as snooker, might have a chance to cope better as they are more individually focused, and a crowd is more a passive participant.
For sports like football and rugby however a crowd is far more crucial, creating an atmosphere to push on their team.
Without fans, some competitors will struggle to motivate themselves leading to shock results.
And there are other issues.
For example, assuming football returns in the coming months as the authorities appear to be attempting, seasons will be concluded – which I think is the right thing to do.
But that key time in the season is when fans are most passionate.
Is it really possible to keep Liverpool fans away from Anfield when the Premier League title is lifted?
And is there the chance Aston Villa or West Ham fans could not hold protests outside Villa Park or the London Stadium, following a last day relegation decider?
Although fans would not be allowed in, mass gatherings could still form outside venues.
Meanwhile, could people also go round to family or friends homes to watch?
Yes, the risk of that might be less with free to view broadcasts, but sport is still very much a social activity that usually brings people together.
Despite all this I still I think crowd-less football, and sport generally, has to be at least given a go though because we need it back, if only to provide a much needed distraction.