When a man ran naked on to the Nuevo Estadio de Los Cármenes during Granada’s home Europa League contest against Manchester United, the Twitterati had a field day.
The moment took place early on in the first half of the match. The television crew caught a brief glimpse of the unwanted action, before quickly moving the cameras away.
The stadium police intervened and escorted the pitch invader out of the premises. Twitterati was quick to joke about a streaker running across the field in the absence of fans.
However, the incident is really not a laughing matter.
The reason why the fans are not allowed inside the stadium is because of the safety protocols in place to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.
The rule is established to keep the players, coaching staff and stadium officials safe and isolated inside a bio-bubble.
When an incident such as this occurs, it puts everyone, including the ‘fan’, at risk of being exposed to the deadly virus.
Granada fans had gathered outside the stadium to cheer for their club ahead of the United clash, which is itself a risky endeavour considering the coronavirus cases in the country have seen a surge in the last few days.
It still remains unclear how the pitch invader was able to enter the stadium.
If he was in contact with the crowd that had gathered outside the stadium minutes before, his presence inside further elevates the levels of risk of exposure.
This is not the first time a fan has entered the field during a football match in Spain amid the COVID era.
Last year, just after the football had restarted, a fan had entered the Son Moix stadium during Mallorca’s La Liga clash against Barcelona to click a selfie with Lionel Messi.
Incidents such as these raise questions on the level of security measures in place to protect players from outside interference amid the ongoing pandemic.
To laugh it off would be an immature reaction, and there is a need to take a stock of how such incidents can be prevented, especially during the current global crisis.