FA chiefs are insisting England’s friendlies will go ahead – even though games are being postponed and cancelled across Europe.
The Football Association tweeted out a message to all supporters ahead of England’s game with Italy at Wembley on March 27 and Denmark four days later.
But despite making the assurances, Italy’s other forthcoming friendly in Germany on March 31 will be behind closed doors and their trip to Wembley could yet be played without fans or postponed.
However, the FA remain hopeful the Denmark game will go ahead with Gareth Southgate due to name his England squad next week and plans still in place for the games even though players have been expecting them to be called off.
The FA tweeted: “At present, and in line with current government advice, nothing has changed regarding the status of our games against Italy and Denmark later this month. We will be sure to inform fans should there be an update.”
The FA could be left with a big bill if the games do not go ahead while Southgate is also running out of time to prepare for this summer’s Euro 2020 tournament.
But it comes at a time when other Governments are clamping down on sport due to the coronavirus with Italy, Germany, Spain and Greece all advising that games should be behind closed doors with Serie A now on hold completely.
In contrast, the British Government is causing surprise among clubs, players and staff that they are taking such a relaxed view as they have told football bodies that the country is not yet a hotspot.
They allowed the Cheltenham Festival to go ahead and have told clubs that they do not want to play behind closed doors, stressing that watching the games in the pub could be a greater risk than being in the stadium.
The Government has put into place contingency plans to quickly move to behind closed doors and also lifting the 3pm TV ban and making games free to air.
UEFA have also announced that Sevilla’s game with Roma and Inter’s match with Getafe in the Europa League will not go ahead on Thursday because of the coronavirus. Meanwhile, FIFA have announced they have switched their congress. A FIFA spokesman said: “Given the wish of FIFA to organise a Congress which all member associations are able to attend, the Bureau of the FIFA Council decided yesterday to reschedule the 70th FIFA Congress from Friday, 5 June 2020 to Friday, 18 September 2020 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
“In addition, the FIFA Council meeting planned for Friday, 20 March 2020 has also been rescheduled to a date yet to be confirmed in June-July 2020, at the Home of FIFA in Zurich, or via videoconference.”