Hopefully, the end of 2020 will mark the end of the drought in sports events that fans have had to suffer for most of the year. We can optimistically look forward to spectators being able to watch major sports events remotely, and may be even live in stadiums. “Behind closed doors” is arguably the most hated phrase for sports lovers in 2020. Let’s hope that the second COVID-19 wave fades quickly to let us all thoroughly enjoy the major sports events scheduled for 2021.
The first intense COVID-19 wave shocked the whole world and it took governments and health officials by surprise. However, the second wave is quite different in a number of ways. Though the number of cases is again on the rise, officials and administrators are ready for it this time. This is great news for the sports industry, which is now much better prepared to ensure the protection and wellbeing of not only the players but also spectators.
Let’s have a look at the most anticipated major sports events to look forward to in 2021:
- Cheltenham Festival 2021
Sports fans in the UK will be able to welcome the new year with this thrilling 4-day festival possibly featuring the Gold Cup and horses to kick off. Let’s see if Al Boum Photo manages to pull off the hat-trick after winning the last two Gold Cups.
If you love betting, try your luck in Cheltenham but practice safe betting at the same time since the expectation to win big often ends in disappointment. On the other hand, in terms of atmosphere, there is nothing like the Gold Cup!
- UEFA Euro 2021
The UEFA Euro cup is one of the most popular sports event to be held back due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The men’s UEFA cup is now scheduled for summer 2021 and the women’s event has been delayed from 2021 to 2022 by UEFA. The men’s UEFA Euro Cup is now scheduled to start on 11 June 2021 and the final will be played on 11 July 2021. Let’s hope that next summer will bring back splendid colours, claps, and cheers to soccer fields!
- UEFA Champions League
Another important fixture for soccer fans is the UEFA Champions League. March 11 marked the temporary pause of the UEFA Champions League, but this almost turned into endless frustration. UEFA finally confirmed that Lisbon, Portugal will host the remaining matches in August 2021. The schedule is going to feature straight knockout rules for the Quarters and Semis. It is good to know that we will finally have a winner!
- Tokyo Olympic Games
Under enormous pressure, Japan finally agreed to delay the Tokyo Olympics 2020 right when the city was ready to host the summer edition for the second time in 57 years. As per the official announcements, the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics will entertain the world on 23rd July 2021. Fingers crossed that this event will go ahead as planned in 2021, to bring the world much-needed joy and unity through the Olympic spirit!
- Tennis Opens
The Australian Open, Wimbledon, US Open, and French Open are some of the most popular tennis events which usually entertain sports lovers across the globe. 2020 suffered from the absence of some top seeds we all love to watch in action. Fingers crossed that Tennis Grands Slams will return in 2021, as these events are currently scheduled to go ahead as planned. The Australian Open is still planned to kick off the year’s tennis events on January 18, and may even host some additional events afterwards!
- ICC World T20
2020 was a disappointing year for cricket fans since the eagerly-awaited T20 World Cup 2020 was postponed. The change of host location, from Australia to India added insult to injury. The ICC has rescheduled the T20 World Cup for Oct 18 to Nov 15, 2021, and India won the hosting rights. The good news is that Australia will host the T20 World Cup 2022 as the ICC ha plans to compensate for extended delays. The situation is constantly changing, however, so keep checking latest cricket news and updates.
- The Ashes
Possibly the world’s most prestigious cricket series, The Ashes creates an intense atmosphere over five test matches. This will be the last major cricketing event starting in late 2021 in the Aussie summer and taking the heat into 2022. The Ashes (2021-22) will begin at the GABBA in Brisbane, followed by the Boxing Day test match at the MCG. Let’s see if the English can turn the tables at the hostile wickets in the Australian heat.
Alas, the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over, but there is a ray of hope with the UK officially approving the Pfizer vaccine. We can only wait and hope that the vaccine brings the pandemic under control to let once again have those magical moments in the stadiums cheering our favourite teams!