South Korean Baseball League Reopens In Front Of Fake Crowd
The South Korean baseball league has finally reopened... in front of a fake crowd.
Due to lockdown measures put in place to help prevent the spread of coronavirus, the official start of the season was delayed by a week but managed to get underway today (5 May).
However, with fans still not allowed to gather in large numbers, a team in Incheon, SK Wyverns, placed photographs of spectators over the seats to help create some atmosphere.
Players and officials all wore protective masks ahead of kick off, with cheerleaders performing in front of thousands of empty seats.
The country's baseball league is one of the first sporting associations to get back to work since the pandemic began earlier this year, with the Korean Baseball Organisation bringing in a variety of measures to do so.
As a change from previous seasons, teams will be permitted to choose from 33 players to play across 54 games, which is up from the usual 26.
Players have also been banned from touching hands with each other, including high-fives, with everyone going through a health screening prior to a match.
Also, if any player from any team tests positive for Covid-19, the KBO will suspend the season for at least three weeks.
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And fans will also be banned from attending any match until the KBO is satisfied that it is safe for them to do so.
As well as using images of spectators to fill the seats, some teams have come up with other ways of helping build an atmosphere as the season kicked off.
Defending champions Doosan Bears took on LG Twins at the Jamsil Stadium in Seoul, with the home team (Twins) placing massive banners across the seats.
And at a game in Daegu, the city most devastated by the spread of the deadly disease, the Samsung Lions played messages on their scoreboard from players, fans, and celebrities, praising all the medical staff for their courageous work.
South Korea has seen 10,804 cases of Covid-19, with 254 people tragically dying as a result.
However, the spread of the virus has slowed down significantly in recent weeks, with the number of new cases reported per day now down to single digits.
In Europe, football clubs in Germany are looking to get the season restarted later this month.
However, according to reports, the restart could be in jeopardy after 10 people connected to clubs in the top two tiers tested positive for the disease.
Discussions are still ongoing in England about a potential restart date for the Premier League.
Featured Image Credit: PA