Goal alone: Celebrating a goal in COVID-19 era

Have you ever wondered how a goal was celebrated back in the late 1800’s, when football was still a pastime of gentlemen and university students? According to historical data, all players of the scoring team entered a line and the scorer shook hands with all of them!

As football was rapidly expanded to the working class, goal celebration became more spontaneous. Hugging, weltering in the field and even kissing became normality, along with shouts and routs by the crowd (instead of just clapping the scorer). Over the years we’ve spotted a lot of bizarre goal celebrations, from animal imitating to bumps of various numbers and styles.

How the goals will be celebrated in the COVID-19 era? This is not a matter of personal style. The German Bundesliga administration issued a number of rules, which all players and coaches will have to follow during a football game. The German league is the first major football competition to start after a nearly two-month pause due to the pandemic. As there are rules for everything concerning the player’s behavior during the game, the goal celebration couldn’t be left alone.

According to schedule, the players of the scoring team are strongly discouraged of celebrating the goal by trying to approach the scorer and get in touch with him in any way. In addition, the scorer is discouraged to move to the substitute bench after scoring, in order to celebrate along with all players not competing at the time. All players could celebrate the scorer only verbally, nearly shouting at him, as the rule is strict: No contact is allowed except the absolutely indispensable during the game.

Some teams, trying to have a sense of humor these times, have revealed that there was a specific training (!) on how a goal will be celebrated. We’ll be ready to see some really exceptional celebration, such as all players walking in the line with a 2-meter distance between them.

The shaking hands ritual, which is institutionalized in many leagues before a match, was the one of first things to be abolished. The only acceptable contact between two players is touching their elbows.

There’s of course one more strict rule: No more spitting during a match. This – somewhat disgusting, really – habit of many players is considered as one of the most possible ways of COVID-19 dispersal. So, the UEFA administration has to stop this the soonest possible.

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