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Archived News from March 2020

THE ENTIRE FOOTBALL PROFESSIONAL GAME POSTPONED
14th March 2020 11:14


EFL statement: Coronavirus update
Fri 13 March 2020, 11am

https://www.efl.com/news/2020/march/efl-statement-coronavirus-update3/

The FA, Premier League, EFL and Barclays FA Women’s Super League and FA Women’s Championship have collectively agreed to postpone the professional game in England until 3 April at the earliest.

This action, which will be kept under constant review, has been taken due to the increasing numbers of Clubs taking steps to isolate their players and staff because of the COVID-19 virus.

The postponements include all matches in the Championship, League One and League Two, as well as all Academy and youth team fixtures.

In addition, Clubs are being advised to suspend indefinitely all non-essential activities which include, but are not limited to, player appearances, training ground visits and fan meetings.

Whilst the EFL Board has continued to take the advice and guidance offered by the Government and its health advisors, emerging developments mean now is the time to implement football’s contingency plans in response to the crisis.

A further update on these plans will be given post an EFL Board Meeting next week.

This decision has not been taken lightly, but the EFL must prioritise the health and well-being of players, staff and supporters while also acknowledging the Government’s national efforts in tackling this outbreak.

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THE FA: DECISION MADE TO POSTPONE PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL UNTIL FRIDAY 3 APRIL AT THE EARLIEST
Friday 13 Mar 2020

http://www.thefa.com/news/2020/mar/13/fa-premier-league-efl-statement-football-suspended-130320

The FA, Premier League, EFL and FA Women’s Super League and FA Women’s Championship have collectively agreed to postpone the professional game in England until Friday 3 April at the earliest.

This action, which will be kept under constant review, has been taken due to the increasing numbers of clubs taking steps to isolate their players and staff because of the Covid-19 virus.

It will also apply to all England team fixtures at every level and all FA competitions including the Emirates FA Cup and the Women’s FA Cup, along with academy and youth-team matches.

The decision is being made purely on the number of cases requiring self-isolation and the impact on facilities. Given the steps being taken across clubs, there is no alternative but for today’s action. However, all parties are committed at this time to trying to complete this season’s domestic fixture programme and are liaising to establish appropriate options to do so.

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EARLIER STORY from The Times:
- All games behind closed doors
- Season-ticket holders and ticket holders for individual games at Football League clubs will be allowed to watch matches on iFollow streams.


FULL STORY:

Games to be played behind closed doors as part of coronavirus crisis plan
- All games behind closed doors
- Plan to start as early as today
- Live streams for ticket-holding fans

The Times, by Martin Hardy, Thursday March 12 2020

All football matches in England will be played behind closed doors under government plans to combat coronavirus that could be triggered as early as today.

A meeting of the government’s Cobra committee this morning is expected to move its response to the pandemic from the “contain” phase to the “delay” phase. That will result in a crisis plan being unveiled for football. The Times can reveal:

- The current season will not be postponed and instead matches in the Premier League and lower divisions will be moved behind closed doors;

- All Premier League season-ticket holders and ticket holders for individual games will be able to stream coverage of matches into their homes;

- No games will be shown in pubs so as to avoid congregation of people;

- Premier League games will not be shown live in the 3pm slot on Saturday afternoons;

- Broadcasters will be permitted to screen more than one Premier League game during both the lunchtime and tea-time television slots on Saturday, and the scheduled slots on Sundays and Mondays; and

- Season-ticket holders and ticket holders for individual games at Football League clubs will be allowed to watch matches on iFollow streams.

The plan may be implemented once the number of UK coronavirus cases passes 500. Last night it stood at 460.

The dramatic moves are seen as the only potential way to end the present season in light of the growing coronavirus crisis in England and the growing possibility of the country being moved to the delay phase.

The government has been in discussion with the Premier League, the Football League and the Football Association about what can be done. The uncertainty over how the virus will develop and how long it will last are seen as reasons why English football will not be temporarily postponed. The forthcoming Euros also present a problem to the Premier League as to when this season would actually finish and how it could impact upon future campaigns.

Sporting integrity has been cited as a major factor in moving against the possibility of cancelling the season outright, although smaller clubs who are more reliant on gate receipts are worried about the financial implications of matches without ticket sales.



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So what changed between The Times leaked story and the announcement to postpone the entire professional game? What changed was that Mikel Arteta, the Arsenal manager, tested positive for coronavirus and various other Premier League clubs had players or staff self-isolating or testing positive.

Martin Shaw

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Latest | March 2020