9 May 2020 – The K League kicked off on Friday (8 May 2020) as viewers around the world got an idea of what football will look like in the coronavirus age.
The stands were empty, bar a few officials and the South Korea manager – all wearing masks.
On the benches the subs wore masks – club branded ones in the case of Jeonbuk Motors – and so did most of the coaches and the fourth official.
On the pitch there were no masks but handshakes were banned (although players did bump fists at the end) and players were not allowed to spit or talk at close proximity to each other.
The atmosphere was surreal with silence for most of the game – apart from the players’ shouting. There was the occasional spell of crowd noise piped in (it was surprisingly genuine sounding). And the final whistle was met by deafening silence.
The game itself ended in a 1-0 win for champions Jeonbuk Motors over cup holders Suwon Bluewings. Substitute Lee Dong-gook, 41, scored the only goal with a header.
There was also a red card and VAR check for a penalty not given.
With the Bundesliga returning next weekend and the Premier League hoping to be back next month, this was a valuable glimpse into what the new normal looks like.