FOOTBALL could resume behind closed doors in weeks, according to Whitehall insiders.
The priority is to get the Premier League season finished as it would allow the transfer window to open and enable money to trickle down the football pyramid.
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But with a strict set of criteria to be met, we take a look at how football will return in the UK.
Q) What happens to the remaining rounds of the Champions League?
A) Countries across Europe have different approaches on lifting rules.
Q) What happens to the remaining three rounds of the FA Cup?
A) The FA faces a major challenge in fitting the quarters, semis and final in alongside the very tight schedule of Premier League games.
Q) Will all games be televised?
A) The resumption of the Premier League is likely to trigger frantic negotiations between subscription TV channels such as Sky Sports and BT Sport and free-to-view channels, as well as questions over how to fit the remaining games into broadcasters’ TV schedules.
Q) Would players be forced to play and also wear masks?
A) It is unclear if football authorities have the power to force them to play, with the threat of legal challenges if players catch the virus.
Players are very unlikely to wear masks but they would probably be asked to wear them when travelling to and from stadiums.
Q) Would lower leagues resume and what about promotion/relegation?
A) The priority is the Premier League.
It is unclear what would happen if the lower leagues do not finish their seasons.
Five criteria all sports will have to meet to return
RULES will be tailored to different sports — but they will all have to meet these broad criteria:
- Each sport would have to put in place regular testing arrangements for participants. These would have to be paid for by sporting authorities or clubs to avoid depriving key frontline workers of the vital tests they need to be able to continue working.
- Staff must be kept safe from the risk of infection and any extra burden on the emergency services must be prevented.
- Clubs would also have to ensure they have measures in place to deal with certain fan behaviour, such as the risk of impromptu gatherings outside grounds.
- This is on the back of supporters from Paris club PSG turning up at their stadium to celebrate their Champions League victory when their match against Borussia Dortmund last month was played behind closed doors.
- Before any sports can resume, the Government must first have met the five key tests it has set the country before any restrictions could begin to be lifted.