John Williams

Associate Professor of Sociology


The COVID-19 outbreak has had a crippling impact on international, national and local sport. No serious sport is currently being played and there are no indications when this might be possible and under what circumstances. This raises questions about the benefits of sport, both to players and spectators, and the communal functions around identity, solidarity and community. Recently, there has been discussion around whether sporting competitions should restart without spectators. Does this make sense – or do fans constitute an important dimension of the sporting ‘text’? How will missing weekly sport be impacting on communities and individuals? And how will the major sporting bodies re-align themselves when sporting competition becomes possible again?

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