Limpag: Social distancing in football

Fair Play

HERE’S something that you don’t hear everyday, even for the strange year that is 2020. A German football team lost 37-0 because it practiced social distancing. Yep, the players opted to stay at least a meter apart from other players in a competitive match.

How did this happen? Well, according to the reports I’ve read online, amateur side SG Ripdorf/Molzen II, which is playing in the 11th level of German football, wanted its match against Holdensted II postponed since the other side played a team which had one player who tested positive for Covid 19. They didn’t want any risk of infection, so they wanted the match moved.

But the league didn’t grant their request and since forfeiting the match comes with a penalty worth 200 pounds, which they weren’t willing to pay. So seven players showed up--the minimum for a match to push through—but the seven didn’t exactly make up for the lack of bodies.

“During the full 90 minutes, our players kept perfect distance so Holdenstedt had enough time to score goals. We didn’t speak about tactcis because we all knew that this game would be a big loss. Our opponent didn’t understand when we walked to the side of the pitch,” the club’s co-chairman Patrick Ristow told CNN.

The winning team scored almost every two minutes and I think it could have been more had they been able to do the restart after a goal faster. The CNN story didn’t say whether any of the team were fighting relegation or if the winning side was in contention for a title, which could explain the need to score such many goals.

But man as strange games go, that one is really something. Where’s the fun in scoring so many goals if your opponent graciously stepped aside?

Curiously, the move has some unintended benefit for the club--unless the chairman was wily enough to foresee this. It was cash-strapped enough before the match that it couldn’t afford to pay the 200-pound fine for a forfeiture but after the match, the club has gotten so much publicity that it has been answering queries and interview requests all over the world. Heck, I read of their story in CNN, while a few days ago, ESPN and The Guardian also ran their story.

I sure hope the publicity translated to more than a 200-pound windfall.


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