Premier League matches could be played behind closed doors until 2021 in coronavirus plan

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Premier League matches could be played behind closed doors until 2021 in coronavirus plan

Premier League matches could be played behind closed doors until 2021 in coronavirus plan (Image: GETTY)

The Premier League is to study a potential Serie A plan that could see all matches for the remainder of 2020 played in empty stadiums. The global coronavirus pandemic has shut down elite football across Europe over the past month, with no return date pencilled in for any leagues.

The severity of COVID-19 has been felt in Italy, the second worst-affected country in the world after the United States with over 20,000 deaths from in excess of 150,000 confirmed cases.

That is despite the country having been in lockdown since March 9, with the national quarantine expected to continue until at least May 3 – a span of 55 days.

And the Daily Mirror report that a leaked Italian government document says all Serie A matches will be played behind closed doors until 2021.

Juventus beat Inter Milan last month in an empty stadium, just days after Inter beat Ludogorets in the Europa League with no spectators present.

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Premier League matches could be played behind closed doors until 2021 in coronavirus plan

Premier League matches could be played behind closed doors until 2021 in coronavirus plan (Image: GETTY)

And that’s something Serie A players may have to get used to, with the remainder of the current campaign to be played without fans if it is resumed.

The Italian government are considering starting the 2020-21 season with the exact same measures in place, amid suggestions the cooler temperatures could see the virus hit hard again in the winter.

Speaking to Sky Sports Italia, the president of the Italian FA Gabriele Gravina said: “As soon as the conditions are right, we’ll finish the championship.

“Soon, there will be a meeting. We will establish the procedure which we will then communicate.

“We will start, I hope, at the beginning of May with tests to ensure that players are negative and training can follow.

“Will we play through the summer? We don’t have a deadline but the idea is to finish the championships.”

The Mirror say that the Premier League are keeping a close eye on the matter and that chiefs are keeping an eye on the possible ways they can resume the current season.

Early June is currently being eyed as a potential time for English top-flight football to return, with nine rounds of Premier League matches remaining.

But League Managers Association chief executive Richard Bevan said to BBC Sport last week, however, that football in England should only resume if all players have been tested for the coronavirus.

“Tests must be made available first to National Health Service (NHS) workers and patients,” Bevan said.

“Once that’s happened, by all means let’s access it in sport.”

Premier League matches could be played behind closed doors until 2021 in coronavirus plan

Premier League matches could be played behind closed doors until 2021 in coronavirus plan (Image: GETTY)

A letter was last week sent tout to English Football League clubs about potential plans for the season to be completed within a 56-day window between June and August.

“You’re going to have to get the support of the coaches and managers,” Bevan added.

“You do not do that by not talking to them. You do not get the end-product or working together if you just send a letter out without actually taking their advice or thoughts.

“You’re going to have to get the goodwill of the players because you’re going to have at least three weeks of training to get back on the pitch at least.

“The most important thing guiding every principle is health, and getting back on the pitch without ensuring fully-fit players is a very big call to make. I would like to see more debate.

“We’re not really going to see more accurate forecasting about when we can get on the pitch until the end of April.

“In Germany, if you look at discussions about coming back in May, that’s probably a direct result of some very clear thinking from their government because they’re doing 50,000 tests a day.

“In this country we’re doing 10,000 per day, although the government are targeting 100,000 each day by the end of the month.

“Our managers do not want to be back on the pitch unless the players have been tested. But at the same time the government must confirm that is OK, because the tests must be made available first – if there’s a shortage – to care workers, patients, NHS staff and their families.”


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