"High risk" of lockdown violation without live sport - Agag
Formula E chairman and Extreme E boss Alejandro Agag says motorsport must return “as soon as possible” to lower the risk of people breaking coronavirus lockdown rules.
The all-new XE electric SUV off-road racing series is still set for a January 2021 start in Senegal, and Agag said the COVID-19 crisis had not delayed the inaugural season.
FE, meanwhile, suspended its 2019-20 calendar initially for two months amid the pandemic before extending the pause through until the end of June.
But Agag stated that the return of sporting events would encourage people to remain at home and in turn follow the lockdown restrictions imposed by many countries.
Speaking during an online XE press conference, Agag said: “I think sport needs to be put back on as soon as possible.
“Even if it’s behind closed doors, and I think we’ll have to be behind closed doors, people need entertainment while they’re at home.
“If you give them football, if you give them motorsport, if you give them reasons to stay at home, they will stay more happier at home.
“If you don’t give them anything, if you don’t give them entertainment, the risk of people breaking the confinement is higher. Sport has a big role to play.”
Agag added that, although events taking place without spectators was not a long-term solution, sports could play a “social function” amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said: “I think sports behind closed doors hopefully is not the future because that will be a sad future. But for the short term, it’s the only way.
“I defend sports behind closed doors because at least you give something to entertain the fans - they need it.
“Sports will play a social function in this time of COVID. We need to get back behind closed doors as soon as possible.”
Agag also said that the concept for XE, which will transport its freight and key staff to event locations aboard the refitted RHS St Helena, is 'almost virus-proof'.
He said: “When we designed Extreme E we didn’t know there was going to be a pandemic, we didn’t know there was going to be a virus.
“But if you think about it, Extreme E is almost a virus-proof sport. It is the only sport that I know that is designed to be competed without spectators.
“We have no public at our events. We are contained on a ship, we can test everyone that goes on that ship. We can make sure the ship is COVID free.”
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