New YouGov polling shows Britons recognise the value of sporting events for national morale, but think it’s best to put them on pause due to the coronavirus
As more headline events of 2020 are cancelled due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, Britons agree with the decision of sports regulators and bodies to put leagues on hold for now, but want to see them finished in the future.
Should sporting fixtures be cancelled, or go on behind closed doors?
Organisers have cancelled almost all major sports events in the UK – something which the British public generally supports, with half (52%) of Britons saying that cancelling or postponing all major sports events is the best thing to do. However, just over a fifth (23%) of Brits think that each event should be judged separately, rather than blanket cancellations.
A sixth (14%) think the events should still go ahead albeit behind closed doors without fans present and just 4% say things should be going on as normal, with no cancellations or postponements.
When it comes to leagues that have been temporarily suspended 39% Britons want to see them continued when the time is right. Three in ten (32%) of Britons think that the completion of postponed domestic leagues should take precedent over international competitions should the two clash in the future.
This is compared to 28% who think the leagues should be abandoned with no winners or losers, and 21% think the leagues should be abandoned but with some way to determine the winners and losers.
Should abandoned sporting leagues have winners this year?
However with so many leagues and competitions cancelled official bodies will need to decide how they award promotions, regulations and trophies, if at all. Brits in general say, in the event of abandonment, the fairest thing to do is to simply null and void this year competitions, with over a third (39%) saying abandoned sports leagues should have no winners or losers this year.
However when it comes to the Premier league, one in three Brits (36%) say Liverpool should be given the title, compared to 17% who do not. A high proportion of Brits (42%) felt they didn’t know enough to comment, however.
If we exclude this group of non-football followers, the figures show that 68% of those with a view think Liverpool should be crowned champions, compared to only 24% who think they should not. This news will certainly please Liverpool fans, with The Reds on track to lift the Premier League trophy before the coronavirus outbreak.
However, another 29% of Brits think that winners and losers of leagues should be decided on the tables at the time postponement, and 17% who say the outcome of this year’s various sporting leagues should be calculated based on odds of winning.
What do sports mean to Britain in tough times?
Despite thinking that leagues should be postponed or cancelled, Brits are well aware of the benefit they bring to the nation. Over two-fifths (42%) say that major sporting events are good for the nation’s spirits, with around the same number (39%) acknowledging that sports events are important for the UK’s economy.
Thirty-seven percent say that major sporting events are a welcome distraction, while more than a third (35%) agree that they are vital to the survival of clubs and leagues.