From cardboard cut-outs in the stands to Zoom watch parties, the return of the Premier League will be a bizarre experience for locked-out supporters.
The English top-flight resumes behind closed doors on Wednesday, with fans forced to adapt to an unsettling new normal due to the coronavirus.
Anyone watching the Bundesliga since German football’s return will have noticed the eerie silence in the stands and echoing shouts of players are not conducive to a riveting viewing experience.
In the absence of fans, the games often seem soulless and resemble reserve team fixtures rather than high-stakes encounters.
Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is certain the Premier League product will suffer from the lack of colour and passion provided by supporters.
“What makes it special in England is the way people react to the game,” Wenger told The Athletic.
“It is the best country in the world for the way the fans respond to what’s happening on the pitch.”
He added: “You realise that football without fans is not real…. Only one part of the spectacle is the players. You realise how much you miss the other part.”
Keen to salvage some of the vibrant atmosphere that makes English football so popular, Premier League chiefs set up the Broadcast Enhancement Advisory Group.
Clubs will reportedly be able to use video screens in stadiums to create “fan walls” made up of supporters on live video calls.
In Denmark, hundreds of fans were shown on a giant screen along one side of the Ceres Park stadium for the recent Superliga match between AGF Aarhus and Randers.
It is understood that Premier League clubs will also be allowed to play pre-recorded fan chants in stadiums to celebrate goals from the home team.
Piped-in crowd noise could also be used for substitutions, VAR appeals and the final whistle.
Teams can use “stadium dressing” — comprising fan imagery, flags and banners — to cover the seats in the lower tiers of stands, minimising the visual impact of empty arenas.
Filling the void
Several Premier League teams have been inspired by Bundesliga club Borussia Moenchengladbach, who used cardboard cut-outs of fans to fill around 13,000 seats in their stadium.
Brighton have offered supporters the chance to have personalised cut-outs, with some of the profits donated to charity.
“Supporters are encouraged to wear colours to create a stand full of blue and white,” the club said in a statement.
However, the cut-outs cannot “sit” next to the replicas of family and friends in the Amex Stadium.
West Ham and Wolves have had a similar idea, with fans told their pictures can be part of crowd mosaics.
Aston Villa have asked supporters to send in flags to fill the void at Villa Park.
Fans are taking matters into their own hands as well.
Leicester supporter Paul Rains has set up a website to give club members the chance to watch games together while enjoying a virtual version of the traditional matchday experience.
He told the BBC: “I’ll be using Zoom…. There’s the pre-match pint, followed by the game itself and then the post-match meltdown.
“I’ll be playing some well-known chants throughout the game, I’ll open the online chat for match banter and post in-game polls to get views on controversial decisions.”
Every one of the remaining 92 Premier League matches will be shown live in Britain, with broadcaster Sky Sports doing their bit to hide the drab atmosphere.
At various points in games, fans watching on Sky will be able to vote on their favourite chants and they will be part of the audio mix on the broadcast.
Realistic crowd sounds and chants are being taken from the FIFA 20 computer game.
Other innovations include a Sky Fanzone, where up to six friends can have a video chat for the duration of the match.
Reporting and photos: AFP
Hideaway Beach Resort unveils fitness centre upgrade with dedicated yoga space; introduces badminton
Hideaway Beach Resort & Spa, renowned for its commitment to providing unparalleled luxury and experiences, has announced its latest enhancements in health and wellness offerings, solidifying its position as a premier destination for those with an active lifestyle seeking a holistic and rejuvenating getaway.
The jewel in the crown of these updates is the comprehensive upgrade to the resort’s Fitness Center. Meticulously designed to cater to the diverse wellness needs of guests, the gym now boasts state-of-the-art equipment and an extension that includes a dedicated yoga space; known as the Wellness Studio. This addition provides an idyllic setting for guests to embark on their wellness journey, offering a serene atmosphere for yoga and meditation practices. The resort has also recently added Indoor Badminton courts to their offerings list so guests can sweat it out in the courts.
Hideaway guests are inspired to cleanse, restore, and energise their body and mind. To enable guests to work out on their own schedule, the Fitness Center is open 24 hours. With a variety of state-of-the-art exercise equipment including free weights, Stairmasters, stationary bicycles, treadmills, and more, guests are spoilt for choice. Additionally, thanks to the well thought out entertainment systems such as cable TV and Audio music systems, guests can keep current with worldwide news and sports or go full blast with their favourite tunes at play.
The new building also houses showers and changing facilities, so you can complete your cooldown routine at the gym without having to return to your villa. The facilities are available for all guests (children under 12 to be accompanied by an adult) to use free of charge, and our team members are on hand to help out and provide introductions to any equipment you may be unfamiliar with.
Hideaway Beach Resort & Spa enhances its fitness offerings with the introduction of diverse group classes like Zumba, Tabatha, and Step Aerobics at their new Wellness Studio. These additions, led by a highly experienced Gym & Wellness Instructor, promise an engaging and comprehensive fitness experience for guests.
Hideaway is not just a retreat; it’s an oasis for sports enthusiasts. In addition to the Fitness Center upgrade, the resort has expanded its array of indoor and outdoor sports facilities. The resort’s Sports Complex also includes 2 tennis courts, 1 padel court, 1 half-basketball court, 1 beach volleyball area, 1 Golf Center which has 2 golf simulators and 1 putting green, the new Badminton Center which has 2 badminton courts, 1 soccer field, and professional assistance for various sports with the help of our Sports Master and some Pro Coaches for select sports at the resort.
Staying fit whilst holidaying at Hideaway doesn’t have to be restricted to the gym. You can jog around the beautiful, scenic island or ride the bicycles that you will be provided with at your villa.
Speaking about this new addition, Christophe Adam, the General Manager of Hideaway Beach Resort & Spa, said: “Wellness and fitness travel have come a long way in recent years. Diverse guests now want a variety of benefits from their vacations and they’re looking for programmes and services that are designed to meet their short-term health needs. At Hideaway, we recognise the importance of relaxation and enjoyment. So, we are here to help our valued guests to reconnect to themselves and to prove fitness can be part of a great holiday! We are really excited by the opportunity to create a truly wellness experiences with a wide of sports activities that are seamlessly integrated into a guest’s holiday in the Maldives”.
Hideaway invites guests to immerse themselves in a world of luxury, wellness, and unparalleled hospitality. With these new offerings, the resort continues to set new standards for the ultimate retreat, where guests can rejuvenate their minds, bodies, and spirits.
Umair Badheeu sets new, national freediving record at AIDA Philippines National Championship
Maldivian freediver Umair Badheeu has achieved a new national record with a dive to a depth of 62 meters in the bi-fin category. His accomplishment was made possible with the support of Kaimoo Resorts and Hotels, a key sponsor and advocate for Umair’s pursuit of excellence in freediving.
Competing among 14 international participants, Umair’s performance not only secured a new national record but also surpassed his previous bi-fin category record of 60 meters by a margin of two meters.
Reflecting on the challenges of transitioning from his training in Egypt to competing in the Philippines, Umair said: “Adapting to reduced buoyancy due to warmer waters and encountering jellyfish were part of the new environment.”
This marks the third national record Umair has achieved. He previously set two national records of 62 and 64 meters in the free immersion category of free diving at the Andrea Zuccari World Cup held in Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt in October. Free immersion freediving is a discipline that requires divers to descend and ascend pulling a rope.
Umair’s switch from training in free immersion in Egypt to the bi-fin category for this tournament demonstrated his adaptability: “It felt like shifting gears, utilising distinct techniques, and returning to a more familiar discipline. This dive marks a confident depth for me, focusing not just on depth but also on refining dive times for a more enjoyable experience,” he remarked.
“Kaimoo’s support has been instrumental, offering me the freedom to train. This support has allowed me to focus on honing my skills and achieving new heights in my freediving,” Umair added.
“Umair’s third record-breaking dive this year is a testament to his exceptional skill and determination. Kaimoo is thrilled to continue supporting Umair’s journey in the world of freediving. His achievements inspire us, and we congratulate him on this impressive feat, looking for-ward to his continued success,” said Mohamed Manih Ahmed, Kaimoo’s Managing Director.
With this record-breaking achievement, Umair now looks forward to a period of rest before gearing up for the upcoming freediving season.
Kaimoo Resorts and Hotels is a leading tourism company in the Maldives that manages five properties across the country. In addition to Embudu Village and Summer Island Maldives, Kaimoo also operates Equator Village in Addu Atoll, and the Mookai Hotel and Mookai Suites in Male’.
Kuramathi Maldives and Rasdhoo Divers dive into adventure with speciality courses
Kuramathi Maldives, in collaboration with Rasdhoo Divers, is elevating the underwater experience by offering a captivating range of Dive Speciality Courses, tailored for both novices and seasoned divers alike. These courses go beyond the ordinary, immersing participants in topics such as Perfect Buoyancy, Wave, Tides and Currents, Turtle Ecology, Manta Ecology, Marine Ecology, Deep Diver Speciality, and Enriched Air Nitrox Speciality.
Perfect Buoyancy: Master the art of achieving and maintaining perfect buoyancy underwater, ensuring a seamless and enjoyable diving experience.
Wave, Tides, and Currents: Dive enthusiasts can now confidently navigate ocean dynamics, enhancing their skills in diverse underwater conditions.
Turtle Ecology: Gain insights into the captivating world of sea turtles, understanding their behavior, and contributing to their conservation.
Manta Ecology: Delve into the mysterious realm of majestic mantas, exploring their habitat, behavior, and the crucial role they play in marine ecosystems.
Marine Ecology: Discover the delicate balance of marine ecosystems and learn how divers can contribute to their preservation through responsible and sustainable practices.
Deep Diver Speciality: Embark on a thrilling adventure below 18 meters, gaining advanced skills for deep-sea exploration and mastering safe diving techniques and pressure management.
Enriched Air Nitrox Speciality: Unlock the secrets of the deep with Nitrox, ensuring safer and longer dives. Enhance your dive planning, elevate safety, and indulge in extended reef adventures.
These Dive Speciality Courses at Kuramathi Maldives are designed not only to enhance participants’ diving skills but also to instill a sense of environmental awareness and responsibility. As custodians of the pristine underwater environment, Kuramathi Maldives is committed to nurturing a community of conscientious divers dedicated to appreciating and protecting delicate marine ecosystems.
Led by certified dive instructors from Rasdhoo Divers Kuramathi, these courses provide a safe and enjoyable learning experience. Whether you are a beginner eager to explore the underwater wonders or an experienced diver looking to expand your knowledge, Kuramathi Maldives invites you to embark on a journey of discovery beneath the azure waves.
Celebration6 days ago
Embrace Glitz & Glam at SO/ Maldives: The epitome of sophisticated festivities
Offers5 days ago
Dusit Thani Maldives introduces exquisite romantic and family all inclusive packages for an unforgettable escape 2023
Celebration1 week ago
Endless Fun in the Winter Sun at Cora Cora Maldives
Love6 days ago
Vakkaru Maldives crowned Leading Luxury Honeymoon Resort 2023
News1 week ago
Canareef Resort Maldives broadens global reach with new sales representatives in Russia and the UK/Ireland Markets
Food1 week ago
Anantara Kihavah introduces the Maldives’ first ever immersive dining under water at SEA Restaurant
Celebration1 week ago
Experience the enchantment at Ifuru Island: Let the magic shine this Festive Season!
News6 days ago
Amari Raaya Maldives unveils RAAYA: Luxurious private yacht for unforgettable seafaring experiences