Premier League players to be given advice on stopping on-pitch spread of coronavirus

England and other countries face international friendlies being cancelled when football does return from the coronavirus pandemic. 

Gareth Southgate’s team face at least 10 months without a game after the European Championships were pushed back to 2021.

England are due to face Belgium, Denmark and Iceland in the Nations League qualification, which Uefa are determined to keep after its inaugural finals last year. 

But there is now an acceptance that friendlies will be the matches to give way as the calendar adjusts due to the impact of Covid-19 and the backlog caused by it. 

At the start of the last Nations League campaign, England played friendlies against USA and Switzerland around their competitive matches. The victory over the Swiss was at the King Power Stadium and the USA clash was for Wayne Rooney’s return at Wembley.

The Football Association are trying to save £75 million a year as football’s closure affects them financially. Friendlies at the national stadium is one way to boost revenue but there should at least be Nations League games.  

Wembley are also the hosts of the semi-finals and final for the Euros in 2021 when they are finally staged. 

Uefa’s national teams competition committee met earlier this week to discuss the possibility of countries playing three games, rather than two, during slightly lengthened international windows. It could involve teams playing matches on a Wednesday, Saturday and Tuesday, or a Thursday, Sunday and Wednesday, next season.

Southgate has previously stated how football can help unite the country and he will hope to have two tournaments in two years when football returns from the pandemic.

“As England manager, there’s the team and winning, but you can also affect some bigger aspects of society and try to be a force for good, with projects we can be involved with, charities we support or young people we can inspire,” he said in GQ.

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