First-class football returns in the Faroe Islands

TÓRSHAVN, Denmark: the first official football to be played in western Europe since March took place with little fanfare on Saturday, behind closed doors in the Faroe Islands .

Originally scheduled to start two months ago, the first Faroese flight started its 2020 season late this weekend after being delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic .

In the last of Saturday's five games, AB, three-time national champions, Vikingur had a goalless draw.

Vikingur captain Atli Gregersen, who made 59 appearances for the Faroe Islands national team, told AFP that he hopes fans can return to the field as soon as possible.

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We play for fans, so it is very difficult to play without spectators, said the 37-year-old.

But hopefully it will soon be over and we will be able to get our fans back.

Under normal circumstances, about 10 percent of the 52,000 inhabitants of the islands, located between Iceland and Scotland, can congregate at the largest stadium in the region.

But even though they are not allowed to enter the compound, several fans gathered outside to be close to the action.

"I really, really missed it. I play football myself, I played it every day, but since the virus, there is nothing left," AB supporter Sverri Petersen said.

Faroese domestic football , semi-professional and affiliated to FIFA since 1988, has never garnered so much attention.

Norwegian television has even bought the rights to show the first 12 rounds of matches, which has given the clubs a significant financial gain.

This is a great opportunity ... Some players dream of playing full time internationally. Now all eyes are on them, said Trondur Arge, sports journalist for Sosialurin, the largest Faroese newspaper.

The only European league to continue playing since COVID-19 The outbreak in Europe has been Belarus, although the German Bundesliga plans to resume next weekend.

The Faroe Islands has recorded 187 cases of coronavirus, but no deaths.

The territory closed its borders in March and, like much of Europe, imposed strict blockade measures that it began to lift on April 20.