Lord Sebastian Coe: Playing sport behind closed doors is synthetic
By Geraint Hughes, Sky Sports News reporter
Last Updated: 24/04/20 8:33am
President of World Athletics Seb Coe has said that all sport cannot be played out in front of empty stadiums for too long.
As the Bundesliga and Oslo's Bislett Games prepare for potentially hosting football and athletics from May and June respectively, the thought of excluding fans and asking athletes to perform in empty stadiums beyond short term necessity was described by Coe as "synthetic over the long haul."
"Is it a permanent solution? No of course not," Cole told Sky Sports News. "We want sport to be a driver when we come out of this dreadful period.
"Sport has a massive impact on communities. I want sport to be celebrated in front of packed houses when it is safe, so that people can try to get their lives back together.
"I don't think any of us want to see sport behind closed doors. We want sport to come back, we want competition back.
"There's no one size fits all or magic wand. Every sport will want its competitors back, but only under careful consideration, where no one gets injured or local communities are placed in any danger."
While the safety of athletes and the public is paramount, Coe has backed the 'innovative' ideas from the organisers of Oslo's Bislett Games.
Originally due to be held as a Diamond League meeting on June 8, it will be called the "The Impossible Games".
Coe humorously dubbed it as "the ultimate garden challenge" as the event could see world-record pole vaulter, Mondo Duplantis, take on Diamond League record holder, Renaud Lavillenie, remotely from their respective gardens.
He added: "Most pole vaulters train in their garden and some have pole vaults in their gardens, it's not beyond reality that this could happen remotely. It's keeping fans engaged."
Despite backing the ideas from Oslo, Coe said he has not ruled out the possibility of no sport being able to take place in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
He also said he had "given up second-guessing" how Tokyo 2020 and the IOC might have to deal with a scenario where they would have to postpone the Olympics for a second year running in 2021 if it was not safe to host.
"We've given up second-guessing and I think it's like many sectors, we are not alone in sport," he said.
"We're guessing the numbers from the front with this pandemic. We have to sincerely hope this pandemic has been confined, is under control and that two things can happen.
"Firstly, that athletes can get back into competition. They will need about a minimum of six weeks before any major event to prepare.
"Secondly, any event must have integrity and that anti-doping processes are in place as inevitably some doping processes are not as robust as they were now due to this unprecedented situation."