Friday 3 February 2023 Dublin: 12°C
INPHO Storm clouds gather over Old Trafford and the Premier League.
# Shutdown
Premier League and Cheltenham given green light to continue
Fears that Premier League games and Cheltenham Festival would be forced behind closed doors have eased – for now.

LAST UPDATE | Mar 9th 2020, 1:58 PM

THE PROSPECT OF Premier League matches and all major UK sporting events being closed off to the public have decreased significantly, at least in the short-term.

This follows comments made by UK culture secretary, Oliver Dowden, this morning in an interview with the BBC.

The issue will be discussed at government level in London today when key sports bodies including the chief executives from the FA and Premier League meet with leading figures in the department of digital, culture, media and sport. Should the Covid-19 crisis get any worse in the UK, there is the possibility of mass postponements of sporting events.

But for now, they are pressing ahead with plans to continue as normal.

Dowden said: “At the moment the advice is clear from the chief medical officer, there isn’t a need to cancel such events. There’s no reason for people either not to attend such events or to cancel them at this stage, but we keep it under review.

“(Holding games behind closed doors) is an option in the future but we are clear at this point there is no need for events to be cancelled. We are very cognisant of the impact the cancelling of events may have both in terms of the economic and social impact.”

Given the strength of that statement, there is absolutely no reason to doubt why Cheltenham will not go ahead, starting tomorrow, as planned.

A number of countries throughout the world have closed the sporting doors on fans – with the Italian league’s biggest game of the season, Inter against Juventus, played in an empty stadium last night.

Already three key Six Nations fixtures – Italy versus England, Ireland versus Italy and this weekend’s match between France and Ireland – have been postponed. 

The Formula One Bahrain Grand Prix on March 22 will take place behind closed doors; Wolves’ Europa League away game against Olympiacos in Athens on Thursday will also be a fan-free zone. The prestigious Indian Wells tennis tournament has also been cancelled.

Exclusive Six
Nations Analysis

Get Murray Kinsella’s exclusive analysis of Ireland’s Six Nations campaign this spring

Become a Member

Closer to home, no measures have yet issued to matches here – bar Ireland’s two Six Nations matches.

All major sporting bodies are in daily contact with the department of health but so far the advice has been to proceed as normal.

If a two-week ban came into place in Ireland, it is hard to see when the GAA’s national leagues could be finished, given the congested nature of the GAA calendar.

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment

    Leave a commentcancel