Football faces a “difficult” challenge, professor predicts

Football faces a “difficult challenge” to return with the likes of golf and tennis set to resume sooner, according to Scotland’s national clinical director.

England’s Premier League has been involved in talks with the UK Government over restarting behind closed doors, possibly as early as June.

But Professor Jason Leitch has warned that large-scale events face a very gradual return in Scotland after the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Leitch told BBC Radio Scotland: “Sport, I think, will have to take a considered and gradual approach to what it does when.

Golf might be one of the first sports to return
Golf might be one of the first sports to return (PA)

“So some sports, clearly physically distanced, (are) clearly able to do that, maybe outdoors. Others (are) more challenging. I can’t imagine snooker will be back first.

“But you might imagine something like tennis or golf might be back a little bit sooner.

“Large-scale events are harder again, I think. They are very difficult. The number of people who have to go to football games even to make them run behind closed doors, is significant.

Football stadiums could be closed to fans for many months
Football stadiums could be closed to fans for many months (PA)

“So I think that will be a very, very gradual and difficult challenge for us.

“But the public health advice will be to do it as soon as it’s safe to do so. We will give them that advice and then the sports authorities will have to make some decisions.”

Scottish football authorities this week welcomed a commitment from sports minister Joe FitzPatrick to hold talks with sports governing bodies.

A Scottish Government representative will also be involved in five committees set up by the football authorities in a bid to prepare for life amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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