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Premier League, ‘elite’ football to continue during second national lockdown in UK

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More of the same for pro sports

Coronavirus - Sat Oct 31, 2020 Photo by Mike Egerton/PA Images via Getty Images

The UK’s tiered system to suppress the spread of the coronavirus has apparently not worked as well as hoped, and the government pulled the “circuit-breaker” tonight, instituting a four-week national lockdown. (The UK’s hardly alone in doing so, following the likes of France and Germany, and things are getting worse in large parts of the US as well.)

Restrictions around the country will be very similar to the initial lockdowns seen around much of the world back in the spring, though with a couple key differences. Schools and universities can stay open, and “elite sport” can continue to be played behind closed doors.

So, unlike in March, when the Premier League was halted for what turned out to be 100 days, the season can continue on as (new-)normal, with games being played behind closed doors and players continuing to be tested weekly for COVID-19. All professional leagues are allowed to continue in this manner in fact, including the Championship and Leagues One and Two, though it’s unclear what the rules will be for grassroots and non-league games (“non-elite”) or whether the FA Cup ties still involving non-league teams (40 first round games) can still go ahead.

While not explicitly stated, the lockdown does pretty much confirm that no fans will be allowed back in stadiums this year, and it might be a good while yet in 2021, even, before those restrictions are lifted.

(On the plus side, it’s at least expected to put a full stop to the PPV nonsense.)