Italian government leaks suggest football is unlikely to take place with crowds until next year, according to a report.

ROME, ITALY - FEBRUARY 23: Henrikh Mkhitaryan of AS Roma in action during the Serie A match between AS Roma and US Lecce at Stadio Olimpico on February 23, 2020, in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images)
ROME, ITALY: Henrikh Mkhitaryan of AS Roma in action during a Serie A match on February 23, 2020, in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images)

Tancredi Palmeri claims leaks of upcoming government measures in Italy suggest football with crowds is unlikely before January 2021. Of course, this doesn’t mean matches won’t return at all, just that they won’t have fans attending them in person.

Assuming broadcasters are still willing to show matches at the previously agreed rate (which isn’t certain), Italian clubs would still bring in plenty of money. Just not nearly as much as they would otherwise.

It also throws many jobs into doubt. Stewards and bar staff at grounds won’t have their role back until the fans are attending again. Local businesses won’t have their usual matchday income either.

This is only an indication of Italy’s plans, for now, but you’d expect other countries to follow suit. Particularly the Premier League, given how badly England is suffering from coronavirus.

You do wonder about the knock-on effect this could have on broadcasters and sponsors.

Any clubs trying to negotiate a new shirt sponsor this summer are surely going to struggle. Similarly, those already with long-term contracts might find they face backlash if the games are no longer in front of thousands of live fans every week.

Mostly, it’s just a shame we probably won’t be able to turn up at the Emirates for a while yet. A totally understandable situation, but a shame nonetheless.

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