Coronavirus Outbreak: England Football League aiming to broadcast all games in event of league resuming 'behind closed doors'

Clubs from England’s Football League (EFL), the three divisions below the Premier League, have been told that when the action does return it is likely to be without fans present but that all games should be broadcast live.

Reuters April 17, 2020 18:21:12 IST
Coronavirus Outbreak: England Football League aiming to broadcast all games in event of league resuming 'behind closed doors'

Clubs from England’s Football League (EFL), the three divisions below the Premier League, have been told that when the action does return it is likely to be without fans present but that all games should be broadcast live.

Professional soccer in England has been suspended since 13 March due to the pandemic but the EFL, which includes the second-tier Championship, intends to complete the season in full, including playoff games for promotion to the top flight.

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Representational image. AP

“Unfortunately, I cannot tell you today when football will resume, though whenever we do return matches are likely to be played without crowds,” EFL chairman Rick Parry said in a letter to fans.

“With or without spectators, delivering a successful conclusion to the 2019/20 season remains our goal to ensure the integrity of our competitions.

“This, of course, means that a number of factors – including when, where and within what timeframe fixtures will be played – must be given careful consideration in line with Government advice,” he added.

Parry said the league are looking into ways for all matches to be televised or streamed.

The EFL had previously told clubs not to expect to be allowed to train again until 16 May, at the earliest.

“To give you an honest assessment of the current situation; the point at which you will be able to attend games again remains unclear,” wrote Parry.

In a Sky Sports interview, the EFL chairman added that while clubs were struggling financially, the nature of the pandemic, which has killed almost 14,000 people in British hospitals, made it impossible to give a clear answer on a return date.

“Clearly, the virus is going to decide when we start playing again. No one knows exactly when that is going to be. Clearly, at the moment, there is a lot of uncertainty and a lot of unrest, particularly at our level where clubs are struggling financially,” he said.

“In times of anxiety everyone gets anxious and nervous and worries about what happens next. It’s a really unprecedented situation and, to be blunt, nobody has any answers, because nobody knows when we’re going to get through this.”

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