A whistle of hope – guest blog by Sebastian Vu from Switzerland.
In any soccer match with a referee, we hear the whistle many times: when the game starts, when there are substitutions, when the game ends and many times, when there is a foul.
For me, most whistles mean fouls and when I hear them, I have a negative impression.
But this year, I have learned another meaning of the whistle.
When the first lockdown in Switzerland ended at the end of June and soccer matches were allowed to take place, I went to the stadiums as often as I could – on average 4 times a week. It did not matter if the match was men or women, professional or amateur, Super League or Challenge League or Promotional League, I went and I was very happy.
But in a few instances, I was a couple of hours from entering the stadium only to find out the match was postponed.
The first time was in Wil. FC Wil vs Grasshoppers Club Zurich. I arrived at the stadium and saw the arrivals of the referee team and the van carrying the equipment of the visiting team. I was waiting for the bus of the players from Zurich when suddenly I saw the referees went back in their car and drove away.
I quickly checked the website of the Swiss Football League and found out that some players from Zurich team were tested positive for the virus and the game had to be postponed.
From that day on, I never took for grant that a scheduled match will take place. If I have a ticket for the game, I check the internet every day for one week before the game for news.
Even when I already entered the stadium, I knew anything could happen and only when the referee blew the whistle to start the match that I knew the game will happen.
When Switzerland went back to a second but soft lockdown in late October, the professional clubs continued to play but with either no fans or only 50 fans, I could not go to as many matches as before. But I still went to the stadiums and stood outside.
I stood there and waited for the whistle from the referee to start the game.
The whistle no longer has a negative impression for me.
I feel very hopeful when I hear that whistle.
For me, the whistle becomes a symbol of hope.
Hope that soon all the football matches can be played no matter the level.
Hope for the fans to be back in the stadium.
Hope for a better time.