Report: NFL to Monitor European Soccer League Returns amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistMay 12, 2020

Football with 100 year logo during an NFL football game at Ford Field in Detroit, Sunday, Dec. 29, 2019. (AP Photo/Rick Osentoski)
Rick Osentoski/Associated Press

The NFL plans to keep an eye on other leagues around the world as they return to action amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

"We've been in contact with all domestic leagues, but also sports organizations around the world," NFL vice president of communications Brian McCarthy said, per Bob Glauber of Newsday. "We have a number of protocols, see what works, see what can translate into our sport. We're all in the sports business, but every sport has its own matters to attend to."

The Bundesliga in Germany will be the first major European soccer league to return on May 16.

La Liga president Javier Tebas said he wants the Spanish league to resume on June 12, adding there is "no risk" involved, per Alex Kirkland of ESPN. The English Premier League hasn't provided a date to resume its season but it will be allowed to return after June 1 following a report from the UK government. 

Mike Garafolo of NFL Network provided a breakdown of how this will affect the NFL, via Nick Shook of NFL.com:

"I know some baseball leagues have already restarted but when you're talking about soccer you're talking about a league that is going to have a lot of close contact in the way that the NFL is going to have. So not only the league but also the NFLPA is going to be keeping a close eye on this one to see how is this going to work in the restart."

The NFL released its 2020 schedule last week with plans to start on time, with the first game set for Sept. 10.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told Peter King of Pro Football Talk players would need to be tested before games to ensure safety. He added a second breakout of the coronavirus in the fall could make things difficult.

"The virus will make the decision for us," Fauci said.

NFL teams are currently prohibited from using their team facilities and are holding virtual offseason programs.