FA chairman can't see fans attending games 'any time soon'

Clarke also admits virus will see budget cuts in place
Fans face a long wait until they can head to Kenilworth Road once moreFans face a long wait until they can head to Kenilworth Road once more
Fans face a long wait until they can head to Kenilworth Road once more

FA chairman Greg Clarke has revealed he can't see supporters being allowed back into watch football matches 'any time soon' amid speculation that the entire 2020/21 season could be played behind closed doors.

With the current campaign postponed indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic and no concrete plans to finish the season on the table just yet, Clarke also admitted that the organisation could see their budget cut by as much as £300m over the next four years.

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In a letter to the FA governing council, Clarke said: "Our executive team has been building out different scenarios that we might potentially face as a result of the pandemic.

"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.

"Whilst we would all like to see football return in the coming weeks, the health of our communities and the protection of the NHS must remain our priority and we will continue to be led by Government advice as we work together with stakeholders from across the game to assess any potential restart.

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"The Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant financial impact on all sectors of society and sadly football is one of many sports to have been affected as a consequence.

"I want to assure you that we are committed to supporting the game as a whole through this crisis; especially the lower echelons, where the impact has been felt most acutely.

"Having worked through the numbers with Mark (Bullingham) and the executive team, the Board has agreed that a sensible cut to the annual budget is £75m.

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

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"Clearly that will impact many of our plans as every area of the game will be touched and projects that we all value will be affected.

"There is no other way and I ask for all of you to help us to build this revised plan."

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