‘Football didn’t change after the second world war, or first world war, and it will not change because of a virus’: UEFA chief Aleksander Ceferin insists fans will be back in stadiums soon despite experts warning it could take A Year
UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has insisted fans will be allowed to attend games ‘very soon’ – despite experts predicting matches in all sports could be played behind closed doors until next year.
The Bundesliga became the first major football league to return to action last weekend, but only players, coaching staff and other essential personnel were permitted to attend each match.
The rest of the Premier League campaign, if it resumes next month as expected, will also be played without supporters, and there have also been reports suggesting that the entire 2020-21 season could go ahead with no fans in attendance.
Last month, Dr Nate Favini, medical lead at Forward healthcare services, admitted he would be ‘surprised’ if spectators were allowed to attend matches this year, saying: ‘It may be well until 2021 before we let fans into stadiums.
‘ Ceferin, however, has looked to allay those fears, insisting that the coronavirus pandemic will not stop supporters from entering stadiums for long despite the global death toll continuing to rise.
Asked why he felt the disease would not affect the sport long-term, Ceferin told The Guardian: ‘It’s a serious situation but it is going down now and we are being more cautious.
‘We know more about the virus and in general I’m an optimistic person. I don’t like this apocalyptic view that we have to wait for the second and third waves or even a fifth wave … people you know are likely to die one day, but do we have to be worried today? I don’t think so.
‘We are ready and we will follow the recommendations of the authorities but I’m absolutely sure, personally, that good old football with fans will come back very soon.’
There are also fears over how the crisis will affect football going forward, with the finances of clubs severely impacted and a lack of atmosphere at games a worry.
But Ceferin believes the game will return to ‘normal’ sooner than some people predict.
‘I don’t think that anything will change for ever,’ he added. It’s a new experience and when we get rid of this b****y virus things will go back to normal.
‘Football didn’t change after the second world war, or first world war, and it will not change because of a virus either.’