‘I can’t see football returning in front of crowds for a long time’ – O’Neill

Ipswich Town owner Marcus Evans and general manager of football operations Lee O'Neill. Photo: Steve

Ipswich Town owner Marcus Evans and general manager of football operations Lee O'Neill. Photo: Steve Waller - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Ipswich Town’s general manager of football operations, Lee O’Neill, says he can’t see football being played in front of crowds for a long time.

No football has been played in England since the start of March, with the country now entering a fourth week of lockdown to limit the spread of coronavirus.

The EFL has advised clubs that training should resume no sooner than May 16 at the earliest, with ESPN reporting that the authorities are tentatively working towards a restart date of June 6 for behind-closed-doors action.

“The governing bodies have got a big challenge on their hands to plot a way forward for football,” O’Neill told the club website.

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“There are regular meetings going on to find the best possible solutions for all clubs, in all divisions.


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“The guidance will come from the government obviously but when you look at the other events around the world that have been cancelled and not just sports events, I can’t see football returning in front of crowds for a long time.

“Until the virus is under control and the safe distancing protocol and the ban on mass gatherings has been lifted, it’s not going to happen.

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“Football will return for sure but when it comes back it maybe not as we know it and be very different to what we all want it to be.”

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