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Coronavirus: No fans at Dutch games until there is a vaccine, says health minister

General view of Ajax's Johan Cruyff Arena

Supporters will not be able to attend football matches in the Netherlands until there is a coronavirus vaccine, Dutch health minister Hugo de Jonge says.

Sport in the country is currently at a standstill due to the virus, and the Dutch government have banned all sporting events until September 1 at the earliest.

That decision resulted in the Eredivise being ended prematurely, with no champions and no relegation.

De Jonge wrote to the Dutch parliament to explain that, even if the government chooses to allow sporting events to resume from September, fans will not be present.

He wrote: "We cannot yet mention a date for the last step, the mass gatherings. That is actually only possible if there is a vaccine and no one knows how long it will take. We hope of course soon, but a year or more is very real."

Medical experts say developing a new vaccine takes, on average, 10 years.

However, due to the heavy international interest and investment in developing a coronavirus vaccine, some experts believe one could be ready in a matter of months.

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Around the world, approximately 460 trials are taking place with the aim of combatting coronavirus.

Project restart: What's happening across Europe?

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Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez were amongst the Barcelona players returning to the club's facilities to undergo medical tests
  • England - Premier League: The Premier League is targeting a return to training in small groups from May 18, though hurdles remain after several doctors expressed reservations. 'Project Restart' plans will be discussed at the league's next shareholders meeting on Monday May 11, a day after the UK government gives an update on lockdown restrictions.
  • England - EFL: The English Football League (EFL) has warned football cannot resume before adequate testing arrangements are in place for coronavirus.
  • England - Non-League: National League clubs have voted in favour of ending the 2019/20 at its current point and cancelling all remaining fixtures.
  • Scotland - Premiership: The Scottish government warned on May 5 that the return of sport is some distance away, with football representatives citing September as the most ambitious target. Clubs recently voted to end the lower leagues and hand the SPFL the power to call time on the top flight but discussions continue.
  • France - Ligue 1: PSG have been crowned champions after it was announced on April 30 that the season was over - but Lyon have raised the possibility of claiming damages after missing out on European qualification.
  • Italy - Serie A: The Italian government has given the green light for Serie A players to resume individual training at their club's training grounds with group sessions set to be allowed from May 18. The 20 Serie A clubs reiterated on May 1 in their general assembly meeting that there is a "unanimous will to finish the season" although the government will make a final decision.
  • Spain - La Liga: Professional football players in Spain can return to their training camps for individual sessions on May 4, while teams will be able to undergo group sessions from May 11 onwards. The Spanish league has confirmed a return to competition has been scheduled for June.

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La Liga's UK and Ireland delegate Keegan Pierce says the organisation is doing everything it can to ensure the safety of the players as they return to training grounds for coronavirus tests

Premier League restart: A key week ahead

The Bundesliga has got the green light to resume and this is a "significant week for the future of football" in England, according to a panel on Sky Sports' latest podcast.

In an in-depth preview, Sky Sports News' chief reporter Bryan Swanson and reporter Kaveh Solhekol explain where Project Restart - the plan to resume football in England - is up to, what needs to happen before football can return and the hurdles which must still be overcome.

Read an edited version of their explainer or listen to their analysis in full on a special Sky Sports Football podcast.

Download the Sky Sports Football podcast on: Spotify | Apple | Castbox | Spreaker

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