Sport is a major contributor to economic and social development as it empowers young individuals and communities. Since its onset, the COVID-19 pandemic has spread to almost all countries of the world. Social and physical distancing measures, lockdowns of businesses, schools and overall social life, which have become commonplace to curtail the spread of the disease, have also disrupted many regular aspects of life, including sport and physical activity. To safeguard the health of athletes and others involved, most major sporting events at international, regional and national levels have been cancelled or postponed. The Olympics and Paralympics, for the first time in the history of the modern games, have been postponed, and will be held in 2021.
The global value of the sports industry is estimated at US$756 billion annually. In the face of COVID-19, many millions of jobs are therefore at risk globally, not only for sports professionals but also for those in related retail and sporting services industries connected with leagues and events, which include travel, tourism, infrastructure, transportation, catering and media broadcasting, among others. Professional athletes are also under pressure to reschedule their training, while trying to stay fit at home, and they risk losing professional sponsors who may not support them as initially agreed.