Premier League set to live stream all matches played behind closed doors as part of coronavirus crisis plan

Premier League puts plans in place to deal with coronavirus crisis
Matches could be played behind closed doors from this weekend onwards (Picture: Getty)

The Premier League have put plans in place to live stream all matches played behind closed doors should the government decide to upgrade its response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Football matches in Italy and France are already being played behind closed doors – with PSG beating Borussia Dortmund in an empty Parc des Princes stadium in the Champions League on Wednesday night.

Juventus also took on Inter Milan in their Serie A title clash behind closed doors, with both teams now suspending training and going into isolation after Juve defender Daniele Rugani tested positive for Covid-19.

Juventus' Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo runs on the pitch in an empty stadium due to the novel coronavirus outbreak during the Italian Serie A football match Juventus vs Inter Milan, at the Juventus stadium in Turin on March 8, 2020. (Photo by Vincenzo PINTO / AFP) (Photo by VINCENZO PINTO/AFP via Getty Images)
Italy’s Serie A have already been playing matches behind closed doors (Picture: AFP )

So far major sporting events in the UK have gone ahead as planned – including Six Nations games, Premier League matches and the Cheltenham festival.

But that could change depending on the outcome of the government’s Cobra committee meeting on Thursday morning, with a move from the ‘contain’ phase to the ‘delay’ phase expected to see a ban on large public gatherings.

The Premier League and Football Association have already been in discussion with the government and, according to The Times, the football season will not be postponed but instead played exclusively behind closed doors.

While the 3pm television blackout will still be observed on Saturdays – with officials worried about setting a precedent that would remove the protected slot – matches look set to be moved from that time period and live streamed instead.

All Premier League season ticket holders, and individual match ticket holders, will be able to stream the games live from their homes.

Thousands of ultras and fans of the Paris Saint Germain, wearing protective masks and suits as a precaution against the coronavirus, gather in front of the Parc des Princes stadium to support the team in Champions League match against the Borussia Dortmund, in Paris on 11 March, 2020
PSG played Dortmund behind closed doors – though fans turned up anyway (Picture: Getty)

Broadcasters will also be permitted to screen multiple games in the lunchtime and tea-time slots on Saturday, as well as on Sundays and Monday nights.

Matches will be blocked from being broadcast in pubs, however, to avoid large public gatherings and will be threatened with the loss of their license if they flaunt the rules.

The Premier League’s broadcasting contracts mean it would face a huge penalty if the season was terminated, hence the reluctance to follow the lead of the NBA and suspend the current campaign.

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