S. Korea's K League starts 2020 season, but with no spectators
Updated: 2020-05-08 17:04:40 KST
The eyes of the football world are on the Jeonju World Cup Stadium as South Korea - less than ten minutes ago - became the first country that played in the 2018 World Cup to start football following the following the coronavirus shutdown.
It's spiked interest in a planet starved of live sport.
Arirang News' Kim Sung-min is live at the opening match between Jeonbuk and Suwon at Jeonju World Cup Stadium.
Sung-min, it's very exciting to see the K League coming back when soccer pitches are mostly empty around the world.
Yes, Conn-young, very glad to say hello from here at the Jeonju World Cup Stadium tonight.
The 2020 K League season kicked off just a few minutes ago.
It's an extraordinary scene here, though, because the stands are empty.
COVID-19 is now under control in South Korea, but no spectators are allowed to make sure it stays that way.
Every single player and staff of all 22 teams have been tested for COVID-19 and all came out negative.
Before the game, the players got their temperatures checked.
Two players on the visiting team, Suwon, were a little warmer than normal but after a second check they got into the stadium without a problem.
Several other precations have been taken as well.
All the players' drinks have been individually labelled so they can avoid sharing them.
The players also have to keep their masks on except when actually playing or training.
Spitting on the field is also strictly forbidden.
I spoke with the media officer of the host team, Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors, about their preparations.
Take a listen.
"The COVID-19 outbreak has not completely ended yet, so there are some concerns, but I'm proud that the K League is the first in the world to start its season. This also gives me a sense of responsibility."
I can see that the K League has done a lot of preparation so the games can be played safely.
And, it's spiked interest in a planet starved of live sport. What's the atmosphere there like? Is the opening match gaining traction?
Absolutely, Conn-young. And I can feel that from the atmosphere.
Here's one of the foreign correspondents reporting on tonight's game.
"Having K League opened is allowing people to have a little bit of role model how it could be done in their own countries."
This game between Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors and Suwon Samsung Bluewings will be livestreamed worldwide, and 36 different countries have broadcast rights to the season, including Germany, Australia and the UK.
And countries are also paying attention to the quarantine measures taken by the league that made this possible.
The K League has shared and explained those measures with football organizations in around 40 countries.
Back to you Conn-young.