2020-21 season 'highly likely' to start behind closed doors due to coronavirus, claim Bradford

Goal.com

Hopes are fading that spectators will be allowed into English football grounds before 2021 after revelations from former Premier League club Bradford City.

Now in League Two, Bradford said they had suspended 2020-21 season-ticket sales after being told there is an "ever-growing possibility" of having to play behind-closed-doors games until next year.

Bradford, who were last in the English top flight in 2001, said it was "highly likely" next season would at least begin with games played without fans due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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The West Yorkshire club's decision followed their involvement in a conference call with the English Football League (EFL) on Thursday.

Bradford said in a statement: "'City For All' 2020-21 season-ticket sales have today been suspended. The decision has been taken as the club continues to await further information regarding a conclusion to the current campaign, with the start date for next season yet to be confirmed.

"This comes following a meeting yesterday held between the EFL and the Bantams' League Two colleagues.

"City officials have recently been informed of the ever-growing possibility of supporters being unable to attend matches until 2021, and it is now highly likely that next season will commence behind closed doors."

The 2019-20 season stalled in March with the arrival and spread in England of Covid-19, and reports have claimed the EFL campaign could be abandoned because of the amount of testing that would need to be conducted just to allow closed-doors games to be played.

It remains to be seen whether the Premier League and EFL have joined-up thinking on matters such as playing games without supporters next season.

Although the Premier League has huge broadcast deals, which it is eager to preserve, clubs lower down the pyramid are facing a harsh reality of losing vital matchday income, amid fears many could be forced out of business.

The Premier League meanwhile said no decisions were taken at a meeting on Friday over "Project Restart", the term given to the possible resumption of the 2019-20 English top flight season.

A statement said the league is committed to concluding the 2019-20 campaign, but only if it is deemed safe to do so by the government.

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