Mass gatherings, including sports fixtures, are highly visible events with the potential for serious public health consequences if they are not planned and managed carefully. There is ample evidence that mass gatherings can amplify the spread of infectious diseases – the transmission of respiratory infections, including influenza, has been frequently associated with large groups of people in small spaces.
Such infections can be transmitted during sports fixtures, during transit to and from events, in bars and restaurants before and after matches and in participants’ home communities upon their return.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the unique challenge that mass gatherings pose given the risk of transmission, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has assembled a range of guidance documents and risk assessments tools to assist those involved in the planning, organisation and delivery of sporting events.
These tools will be particularly useful for UEFA Member Associations, League Operators and organisers of grassroots sport to fully assess the health and safety challenges of hosting sporting fixtures and events in and between their respective host countries in the months and possibly years to follow the initial outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.