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Football matches could be played behind closed doors ‘ALL of next season’ under plans by sport’s authorities… as mass gatherings may only be deemed safe following a successful vaccine for the Coronavirus

  • Mass gatherings for all sporting events could be banned up until Christmas
  • But this could be extended until May if hardline stance is taken on lockdown
  • Lockdown on mass gatherings may not ease until Covid-19 vaccine is developed
  • However proposal would have huge effects on majority of Football League sides

By Dan Ripley for MailOnline , Published: 1 May 2020

Football could be played without spectators for the entirety of next season under plans by sport’s authorities.

Already there are fears there will be no spectators allowed into any major sporting events up until Christmas owing to the current coronavirus crisis.

But according to the Times this may be extended until May if the government is dependent on easing lockdown on mass gatherings through gaining a vaccine.

That means football’s top four divisions could join other sports and music festivals in falling foul of a hardline stance by the government.

The wait for a vaccine on the deadly virus could take up to a year, although Oxford scientists have already started human trials and hope to know within six weeks if it is likely to work.

Matches played behind closed doors would be a disaster for clubs throughout the football pyramid, especially for teams below the Premier League who rely heavily on the income from supporters attending matches. 

There are fears that across the 91 Football League clubs that the total income lost would exceed £1billion and the highly concerning numbers are being looked at by the FA as they try to mitigate the damage. 

Mass gatherings could be banned until next May if the government do not find them safe enough amid the coronavirus, as development for a vaccine continues.

While Premier League clubs see much of their revenue depend on the TV money, League One and Two clubs can expect matchday income via supporters to bring in around 40 per cent of the clubs’ takings.

The Premier League are still looking for a restart to the current campaign for June as they look to play the last nine round of the season behind closed doors.

But with Prime Minister Boris Johnson looking extending the lockdown period into the summer, this is already putting down a stumbling block to get the season completed.

Premier League fixtures have been postponed indefinitely since March amid the pandemic.

Should the top flight get the go-ahead, it is all but certain to take place behind closed doors and clubs have already been looking at ways to generate atmosphere around grounds which will be eerily silent for what should otherwise be highly intense games to end the campaign.

Using cardboard cut-outs to show fans have been muted while broadcasters are assessing whether to use CGI to cover banks of empty seats as well as pumping crowd noise into stadium speakers to generate a faux atmosphere.

To try and generate fan involvement some clubs are considering ‘digital viewing parties’ as well as drive-in screenings of matches.

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