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Games could be played in empty stadiums until 2021

Experts say football games could be played behind closed doors until the fall of 2021

April 15, 2020 By Ali M.
This would mean bad news for several clubs.

According to experts, it could be a while before fans can attend stadiums and watch their favorite clubs in action. While several of Europe’s top leagues are planning to return to action within the coming months, teams could be forced to play behind closed doors for quite some time. 

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, football has been all but suspended across the globe due to the health risks. In February, Atalanta hosted Valencia at San Siro in front of a crowd of 44,000 people, a move which was later described as a “biological bomb” infecting the people in attendance. It’s for this reason why the experts predict public gatherings won’t be permitted anytime soon.

Dr Zach Binney, an epidemiologist at Emory University in Atlanta, states that sports in general could be played out in empty stadium for another 18 months until the emergence of a COVID-19 vaccine. This belief was echoed by Zeke Emanuel, who is chair of the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania and advisor to the WHO, predicting that sports gatherings might not return until the fall of 2021

"Large gatherings - conferences, concerts, sporting events - when people say they're going to reschedule this conference or graduation for October 2020, I have no idea how they think that's a plausible possibility," Emanuel admitted (as per Marca).

"I think those things will be the last to return.

"Realistically, we're talking [autumn] 2021 at the earliest."

This could be devastating for several clubs. The lack of Matchday revenue could break several clubs, especially those who heavily rely on it for income. Several top-flight leagues in Europe are planning on a return before the summer in order to wrap up the pending season so as to avoid further financial losses but everyone is in agreement that this will only be done when it is safe to do so. As a result, if public gatherings remain a risk to the public, then fans can expect football games behind closed doors.

 


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