FA chief does not expect fans in stadiums “any time soon”

The official Premier League match ball. /VCG

The chairman of the English Football Association, Greg Clarke, fears that fans may not return to stadiums “any time soon” as the world continues its fight against COVID-19.

Clarke, who also serves as the FIFA vice president, noted that supporters are the ‘lifeblood’ of the game but admitted the game faces ‘substantial changes’.

In a letter to the FA Council, the 62-year-old said: “The reality is that we just don’t know how things are going to pan out.

“But with social distancing in place for some time to come we do face substantial changes to the whole football ecosystem.

“For example it’s hard to foresee crowds of fans – who are the lifeblood of the game – returning to matches any time soon.”

Clarke added that the ongoing uncertainty attributed to the pandemic prompted the board to agree a “sensible” £75m budget cut.

“In a worst-case scenario, this would be necessary for the next four years to offset a £300m deficit,” he said.

The Premier League has been under suspension since March 13, following reports of players, officials, and club staff contacting COVID-19.

Many countries are however confident that the war against the disease will be won, and are gradually opening up.

German and Italian football authorities are also considering resuming their leagues in due course, with the necessary limitations.

(With input from Sky Sports)

Leave a Reply