Coronavirus: English football chief expects long wait for fans

The English Football League, which operates the three professional divisions below the Premier League, has told clubs games might be played without fans until 2021.

FA chairman Greg Clarke   -  Getty Images

The head of English soccer says he does not expect crowds to be allowed back into matches “any time soon.”

The Premier League and other soccer competitions in England have been suspended two months during the coronavirus pandemic.

The English Football Association, which owns Wembley Stadium and runs the national teams, is cutting its annual budget by 75 million pounds ($93 million) as it tries to offset a potential “worst-case scenario” deficit of 300 million pounds over the next four years.

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FA chairman Greg Clarke says “with social distancing in place for some time to come, we do face substantial changes to the whole football ecosystem.”

In a letter to the FA Council, Clarke says “it’s hard to foresee crowds of fans — who are the lifeblood of the game — returning to matches any time soon.”

The English Football League, which operates the three professional divisions below the Premier League, has told clubs games might be played without fans until 2021.

The Premier League is trying to find a way of restarting next month. Liverpool is 25 points clear with nine games remaining.

The FA Cup quarterfinals are yet to be played.

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