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Coronavirus: Belarus Cup final sees 5,000 fans in attendance

Gab Marcotti explains why the Belarusian league, including the Minsk derby, were still playing this weekend.

BATE Borisov lifted the Belarus Cup after snatching a last-gasp 1-0 win over Dynamo Brest in front of 5,000 fans on Sunday as the nation continued to defy the global trend of halting action or playing without spectators due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Zakhar Volkov scored the only goal in the dying seconds of extra-time, netting with a scrappy finish after a chaotic goal-mouth scramble.

There was no attempt to maintain...

Belarus chief defends decision to continue amid coronavirus pandemic

Gab Marcotti explains why the Belarusian league, including the Minsk derby, were still playing this weekend.
Jan Åge Fjørtoft says playing football in May could occupy medical resources needed to fight the coronavirus.
Gab Marcotti says players need to be completely transparent with donations made to aid the coronavirus fight.

Belarus have continued playing football during the coronavirus pandemic to offer people an escape from their daily routine, the country's sports and tourism minister, Sergey Kovalchuk, has told ESPN.

The Vysheyshaya Liha in Belarus is one of the last leagues to continue, with most other leagues across the world postponed indefinitely due to the coronavirus crisis. At the weekend, an average of under 500 fans passed through the gates of the stadiums, but over 1,000 supporters attended Dinamo...

Belarus' Dynamo Brest uses mannequins to replace fans during coronavirus pandemic

Gab Marcotti explains why the Belarusian league, including the Minsk derby, were still playing this weekend.
Gab Marcotti says players need to be completely transparent with donations made to aid the coronavirus fight.
Former MLS player and current doctor Marshall Leonard sheds light on his efforts to fight coronavirus.
Julien Laurens explains why Belgium ending their season due to the coronavirus could impact other league decisions.

Belarussian side FC Dynamo Brest are filling their stands with mannequins sporting cut-out portraits of fans to boost match-day atmospheres while supporters stay home due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The club found a creative solution to the lack of in-stadium support by inviting fans from around the world to buy virtual tickets online. In return, the fans' photos were pasted onto the top half of a fashion dummy sitting inside the stadium, and the fans themselves receive a matchday magazine sent...

Belarus FA chief: 'Currently no reasons for stopping the league'

Gab Marcotti explains why the Belarusian league, including the Minsk derby, were still playing this weekend.

The Belarus FA's general secretary Sergei Zhardetski has told ESPN there are "currently no reasons" for suspending its domestic league amid the coronavirus outbreak across the globe.

With football at a standstill, the attention of fans has turned to the Belarusian Premier League where the league continues on while others were suspended indefinitely.

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As of April 3, there were...

Global players' union FIFPro blasts Belarus as play goes on

Gab Marcotti explains why the Belarusian league, including the Minsk derby, were still playing this weekend.

Players in Belarus are worried about playing games in the only European top-tier league still in action during the coronavirus pandemic, their global union (FIFPro) said on Tuesday.

"Frankly, it's not comprehendible how this can be going on," Jonas Baer-Hoffmann, general secretary of the FIFPro players' union, told reporters in a conference call.

"Yes, there are players who are reaching out concerned," Baer-Hoffmann said, noting there are union members in Belarus though the FIFPro network does...