There is no doubt that the implications of COVID-19 have impacted everyone’s lives and for the most negatively. When the shutdown of the sporting world happened back in March of 2020 fans were left devastated sitting ideally and not really knowing how they could get their beloved sport fix from.

Upon the return of football on the 17th of June with the Premier League it was announced that the game could return albeit behind closed doors with no fans present. 

Although this may have been to the dismay of fans, footballers and commentators but Paddy Power have found that special group that may still be thankful for the social distancing measure.

The video opens with the statement that many people argue that football without the fans is not football at all.

Then introduced is Peter a Non League Footballer: “We only usually have a few hundred people at our games, but it’s still not the same without them. Must be really strange for the lads used to playing in front of 50 and 60,000 people every week.”

Next shown is Richard a Commentator who is finding it equally difficult to do his job without the presence of fans: “As a commentator, I feed off the atmosphere inside the ground, but without the fans, it’s just not the same.”

But the video shows that not everyone quite feels the same about the situation.

The video presents Alan, a Referee who claims since the removal of all fans his job has become a lot easier: “I couldn’t be happier, to be honest. No fans means no abuse. It’s been months since i’ve been called a w***** *Excessive profanity* oh, and of course, worst of all ****. Yeah, my life’s been a lot easier, to be honest.” 

The video later shows Alan going out in public after a match appreciating the concealment his mask offers him as two fans of the losing team question whether he was the referee last night but are unable to get a positive ID due to the mask with a voice over stating:“Alan has adapted to the new normal better than most relealishing the anonymity it provides.”

The video concludes with Alan joking with a fellow referee in the changing room as a manager attempts to come in to dispute some discretion but Alan rebukes that the manager cannot enter due to social distancing protocols.

The video is available to watch here on YouTube after age verification.

Paddy Power: A referee’s life without fans