The Covid-19 pandemic certainly changed the "normal life" that apparently existed in the world before 2020. It's a virus that affected literally everyone's life, and soccer was no exception: After the Liverpool vs Atletico Madrid match at Anfield in the 2019-20 Champions League, soccer was gradually and then quickly suspended.
One year ago today the @WHO declared a global pandemic over Covid-19 ️It's also a year to the day since thousands of fans were allowed inside Anfield for Liverpool's Champions League match against Atletico Madrid. #CapitalReports pic.twitter.com/cCdjPBvDmA
— CapitalLivNews (@CapitalLivNews) March 11, 2021
It was a tough few months. In mid-2020, soccer slowly began to return, something that millions of fans welcomed with absolute joy. However, the devastating effects of the pandemic made soccer return, yes, but with several changes adapted to the emergency situation worldwide.
Each tournament had its changes, but the one that prevailed in the world, the one that almost everyone agreed on and that to this day remains largely unchanged, unfortunately, is that of the empty stadiums.
A year of empty stadiums lays bare what soccer has missed https://t.co/4vdseL6smP pic.twitter.com/eAGFt0eYyc— Reuters UK (@ReutersUK) March 11, 2021
Soccer without fans in the stadium is not the same — it decreases joy and passion both in the fans and in the players themselves. It's not the same feeling watching games on a screen as opposed to being in the stadium and living the experience in a sporting atmosphere, cheering for your team. For the soccer player, not having the fans cheering takes away some excitement from the game.
Despite this, there are changes in soccer that have proven improvements in certain aspects of the game. Here are changes that we might consider keeping in the post-pandemic future (hopefully sooner rather than later). Here is a list of soccer changes due to Covid-19 that we would like to keep:
Single-Leg UCL Knockout Rounds
In 2020 we had excellent and very exciting matches in the Champions League, where there was no home and away legs but a single match at a neutral ground. This change could fill every match in this tournament with more excitement, FA Cup style.
Audio Ambience Of Players And Coaches
In many recent matches, it's been possible to hear what the players and coaches have said on the pitch due to the lack of fans in the stadiums. It would be spectacular if you could still hear what the protagonists of the games are saying (or yelling) even when the fans return.
Five Substitutions In Games
This change was adopted in several leagues, and the best thing it brings is the possibility to enjoy several players in the course of a match, possibly discovering new talents as more players will have a chance to prove themselves, and, as a result, matches with high tempo throughout the 90 minutes.
23 Players On The Bench
This change is related to the previous one; it gives more opportunities for players to show their talent on the field and would make each match more exciting as a whole, as there would be less downtime in the final minutes of the game due to fatigue.