International football could be off till 2021: Fifa vice-president, Latest Football News - The New Paper

International football could be off till 2021: Fifa vice-president

National teams may not play again this year, said Fifa vice-president Victor Montagliani, who deals with the impact that the Covid-19 pandemic has on the sport.

Fifa has already postponed international games initially scheduled in March and June, and Montagliani believes the matches scheduled for the international windows in September, October and November are also under threat.

When the Associated Press asked if he saw national teams playing this year, the Canadian said that could be a tough ask.

He said: "I personally 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."

Montagliani, who heads Fifa's working group on revising the fixture calendar - which has been severely hit by the coronavirus - also believes it might be a while before fans are allowed to attend matches again.

He said: "If we get the green light to play a football match, I highly doubt that first football match will be with fans. I just can't see that. I think that would be taking a massive risk.

"I'm pretty sure it'll be a phased-in approach, just like the rest of society is going to be then in terms of us trying to get back to normal here."

His comments echo that of a German science expert, who believes mass events could be barred for up to 18 months.

Gerald Haug, president of the Leopoldina Academy of Sciences - which advises the German government on Covid-19 measures - told broadcaster ARD that the banning of spectators at sporting events or concerts will certainly last several months more, and could go up to a year and a half.

A decision on whether the German league can resume in early May, most likely behind closed doors, has been pushed to April 23, the German Football League announced yesterday.