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Korea Shows the World How Pro Football is Played in COVID-19 Updated: 2020-05-08 15:20:32 KST

It's been 59 days since we last had any live Premier League football to enjoy and the eyes of the football world are on the Jeonju World Cup Stadium in South Korea tonight.
It's where the K League has become the first major competition to resume following the coronavirus shutdown.
Most leagues around the world were suspended or postponed as the outbreak wreaked havoc on sporting plans, although several - in Belarus, Burundi, Tajikistan and Nicaragua - ploughed on amid the pandemic.
But Korea' top flight, which was supposed to start in February, will become the first major league to get back under way when champions Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors kick off the defence of their title against Suwon Samsung Bluewings.
Sports editor and formerly with the K-League United, Paul Neat joins us in the studio.

Football is back
K League has opened in the midst of a pandemic and so has become one of the very few professional football leagues around the world to be operating.
Who's playing tonight? And, why?

What have been the contributing factors that have enabled us to get this far?

Some K League teams started playing competitive matches as early as January and February when relatively little was known about COVID-19. What measures were taken even then?

So, we know the games will be played without supporters in the stadiums, but other special safety measures must in place. I think I've heard talks of no talking among players on the field.
How does it work? Do you get a yellow card every time you talk to your teammate?

So, the Jeonbuk Motors - who have been champions for the past three seasons - face Suwon Bluewings in the opening game tonight down in Jeonju.
Let's link over to the Jeonju World Cup Stadium to find out what the atmosphere is like there.
Peter Hampshire, reporter for K-League United joins us from the opening game.
Hi there, Peter. Good to see you.

Peter, this is a big game, involving two of Korea’s biggest teams who have some of the loudest fans. But, there are no fans there tonight. What is the atmosphere like?

How is that affecting the players, do you think?

Tell us about your own experience in getting to the stadium tonight, what COVID-19 measures were taken?

No fans in the stands, but I understand there is a special banner displaying a message of support on the seats for fans watching around the world?

This game is being aired around the world on YouTube and Twitter so it could be one of the most watched games in K League history, what sort of benefits will that bring, do you think?

Peter Hampshire joining us live from the opening game at the Jeonju World Cup Stadium, great job. Thanks.

That brings us onto what other countries and leagues will be thinking, what will they have learned from K League's model?

It has also created the opportunity for K League to tap into new markets around the world, 17 different countries have broadcasting rights now. How can fans in these countries choose a team to support?

So, for those who are perhaps tuning in to K League for the first time, what would you like to tell them? A beginners guide, if you will.

Many thanks, Paul as always. We look forward to a great season forward.

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