It’s hard to imagine fans at the games soon, the FA chairman said


Retrieved 04 May 2020, 18:08 IST

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Greg Clarke, chairman of the Football Association

Greg Clarke, chairman of the Football Association (FA), acknowledged fans must understand that they will not be allowed to return to the stadiums for the foreseeable future when the games resume.

Most leagues are currently suspended due to restrictions imposed in the coronavirus epidemic, although it is safe to do so when several divisions, including the Bundesliga and the Premier League, are keen to reopen.

However, the logistics of resuming this national competition still need to be unveiled and it has become clear that any match will likely be held behind closed doors in a neutral venue.

Clark acknowledges that these restrictions will not only be enforced, but will be set as a reality for some time.

In a letter sent to the FA Council and published on the Governing Body’s website, Clark wrote: “It is no secret that a huge amount of work is being done locally to determine whether it will be possible to resume the English season locally.

“We all look forward to seeing football return in the coming weeks, the health of our community and the protection of the NHS must remain our top priority and we will continue to lead the government’s consultation as we work together with stakeholders throughout the game to evaluate any possible resumption.

“The COVID-19 epidemic has had a significant financial impact on all sectors of society and, sadly, football is one of the many games that have been affected as a result.

“I want to assure you that we are committed to fully supporting the game in dealing with this crisis, especially in the lowlands, where its impact has been most strongly felt.

“We keep in touch with colleagues and partners throughout the game, both nationally and professionally, and we will continue to work together as support to move our path through these difficult times.

“So far it has taken a variety of forms, from payment advances, to providing extensive advisory support, to unlocking money from the government and other football partners. We have other ideas in the pipeline, such as the Football Foundation’s initiative that we will announce next week.”

“Our executive team is creating different quarters that we may face as a result of the epidemic. The reality is that we don’t know how things are going to turn out, but for some time there has been a place of social distance with let’s face considerable changes in the whole football ecosystem.

“For example, it’s hard to predict the crowd of fans – who are the animators of the game – will be back in the match anytime soon.”

Clark added that the FA had to cut বার 75 million in annual budget this year and that the deficit could reach 300 300 million in four years “in the worst case scenario.”