Belarusian Premier League gains notoriety thanks to COVID-19 and vodka


It appears that an apple a day isn’t the only thing that will keep the doctor away. If you ask the president of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, vodka will work just as well, and will help protect people from the coronavirus. In the former Soviet Bloc country, drinking the potent alcohol and driving tractors are cures for COVID-19, which has decimated sports activity across the globe. Belarus hasn’t succumbed to the sports stoppage, though, and this has proven to be beneficial for the Belarusian Premier League (BPL), possibly the only soccer league in the world still running. points out that the BPL is just now getting underway, having just started the season. The Australian A-League is also running, but it’s holding games in empty stadiums and is just about to wrap up, which could leave the Belarus league as the last one standing amid the coronavirus pandemic. Six BPL matches were held last Saturday, highlighted by a game between FC Minsk and Dinamo Minsk in front of 3,000 fans in the country’s capital.

Lukashenko, often dubbed “Europe’s last dictator,” could be partially to thank for the league not shutting down. He believes everyone is panicking because of the coronavirus and told London’s The Times this past weekend, “The world has gone mad from the coronavirus. This psychosis has crippled national economies almost everywhere in the world.” He had previously addressed the Belarus people, asserting, “There shouldn’t be any panic. You just have to work, especially now, in a village. Tractors will cure everyone! The field heals everyone!”

In addition to riding around in tractors and plowing the fields, the controversial president has other advice to combat COVID-19. He explains, “Go to the sauna. Two or three times a week will do you good. When you come out of the sauna, not only wash your hands, but also your insides with 100 milliliters of vodka.”

With essentially no other sports action around, the BPL is enjoying its time in the spotlight. It has picked up new fans around the world and currently doesn’t have any plans to slow down. Sports gambling fans can place wagers on the games, if they can find a sportsbook that has put up the lines, and sports fans, in general, have something to watch besides reruns of completed games.

Alexander Strok, a spokesman for the Dynamo Minsk team, is happy with the way things are going and enjoys seeing the BPL’s rise in popularity. He told the Sun earlier this week, “We hope it will improve the level of the game, because the players may get more responsible. [New fans] will not only watch English or Italian leagues, but also the Belarus one from time to time.”