What a second lockdown means for English football? We take a look after Boris Johnson’s big announcement on Saturday afternoon.
Unfortunately, the country is plunged back into worrying times with the number of coronavirus cases dramatically on the rise once again.
And because of this, it means that the country needs to go into a lockdown due reduce the amount contracting and spreading Covid-19, especially if people want to see loved ones at Christmas.
The restrictions could see everything except nurseries, schools, universities and non-essential shops close until the 1st of December.
Supporters have been concerned what having another lockdown means for football, so here is what we know, according to several sources:
What will be a blow is that it is understood any hopes of the return of fans to stadiums is now unlikely until 2021 at the earliest.
Reports overnight claimed prime minister Boris Johnson would announce new restrictions to combat the second wave of COVID-19. This has now been confirmed.
Scientists from the SAGE committee told the government that COVID-19 is spreading ‘significantly’ faster than predicted.
As a result, Johnson will reportedly announce new rules — with non-essential shops, pubs and restaurants to close — on Monday, with the restrictions to come in from Wednesday.
The Premier League was halted just before the first lockdown was announced. Leicester’s game against Aston Villa on March the 9th being the last. The 2019/20 season was able to resume again on June the 17th.
The Athletic has been told by three well-placed MPs they have no reason to believe there will be any imminent changes to the Premier League, especially as players and staff will continue to be tested.
But sources stressed that the situation is fast-moving and unpredictable.
One MP pointed out that unlike when matches were first cancelled in March, clubs now have sophisticated testing arrangements and are now used to playing matches behind closed doors.
Multiple players have tested positive recently, but the testing protocols allows them to be isolated swiftly, before testing negative again.
“The virus doesn’t spread well in outdoor settings and the close contact time in sports like football is very short,” one MP says.
“The Department for Culture, Media and Sport seem keen to keep outdoor sport going at all levels.”
Earlier this month, chief executive Richard Masters said: “We don’t feel the closed doors model is at risk at the moment.
“We think we’ve got a proven model that worked in Project Restart and, at the moment we’re happy, and so are the government, that we can continue.”
WHAT THE GOVERNMENT SAYS
Speaking at a Downing Street news conference on Saturday evening, Boris said there was “no alternative” to a second period of national lockdown restrictions.
He said that “no responsible prime minister” could ignore the rising number of coronavirus infections across England.
Johnson warned of a greater number of COVID-19 deaths this winter than during the first wave of the pandemic, in the spring, without tougher measures.
Schools, colleges and universities will remain open while those who cannot work from home, such as construction or manufacturing workers, will be encouraged to continue going to their workplaces.
Pubs, bars and restaurants will close across the country, although they will be able to offer takeaway and delivery services.
Non-essential shops, hairdressers and leisure and entertainment venues will also be forced to close.
The furlough scheme, which has seen the government pay a proportion of peoples’ wages during the pandemic but was due to end on Saturday, would now be extended through November.
Different households are banned from mixing, although support bubbles and childcare bubbles will remain and children will still be able to move between homes if their parents are separated.
Gyms will close but people can continue to exercise for unlimited periods outdoors, either with people from their own households or on a one-to-one basis with one person from another household.
People will be able to travel internationally for work, but won’t be allowed to go abroad for holidays.
Boris Johnson has announced a month-long lockdown from Thursday. You can leave home for:
“Exercise/recreation outdoors with one person from another household.”
“If you need to for work.”
That suggests that elite sport will continue, grassroots sport will stop.
The Premier League, EFL and non league is to continue again behind closed doors.
The EFL notes the difficult decision taken by the Government in respect of the implementation of a ‘national lockdown’ in England from Thursday 5 November 2020 in response to the rising cases of COVID-19.
During this next phase it has been confirmed to the League by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) that elite sport will be able to continue and EFL competitions will therefore remain as currently scheduled (in both England and Wales).
Professional football has implemented some of the most stringent, robust and regularly reviewed protocols since the restart in June 2020 and our medical experts’ advice remains in place to fully adhere to these measures which are specifically designed to mitigate against the spread of the virus.
The health, safety and well-being of players and Club staff throughout the pandemic has been our first priority and this will continue as we enter this next period of lockdown and beyond.
In addition, we acknowledge the Government’s national efforts in tackling this outbreak and would hope that during this next phase of the crisis, our national sport, negatively affected by COVID-19 like many other industries, can continue to provide some form of welcome distraction and give people in our communities up and down the country a sense of normality in very challenging times.
Germany and Switzerland have also re-introduced a ban on spectators, having allowed fans into the stands for a few months now.