Most international football might not be played until 2021 because of coronavirus pandemic travel restrictions and the need to give club competitions the chance to resume, one of FIFAâ€™s vice-presidents has said.
Victor Montagliani, a Canadian who is president of the governing body for North and Central America and the Caribbean (Concacaf), has been heading a FIFA working group formulating plans to deal with the implications of the sport being largely shut down since last month.
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FIFA already has called off international matches that were due to be played in March and June. Montagliani, Concacafâ€™s president, believes the September, October and November windows for national team matches could also be scrapped.
â€œI think that might be a bit of a challenge, not so much because of just the health issues around the world and the various degrees of preparedness, but also committing to international travel as soon as we come back,â€ he said. â€œI think that domestic football is a priority. September is still in the books, but I would garner to say that Iâ€™m not sure itâ€™s there on solid ground the way things are trending right now.â€
The return of fans into stadiums could be dependent on a vaccine for Covid-19 being ready, which might not be until 2021.
â€œIf we get the green light to play a football match. I highly doubt that first football match will be with fans. I just canâ€™t see that,â€ Montagliani said.
â€œI think that would be taking a massive risk. Iâ€™m pretty sure itâ€™ll be a phased-in approach, just like the rest of society is going to be, in terms of us trying to get back to normal here.â€