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'We're planning to have FULL stadiums,' says NFL exec as US coronavirus death toll nears 100,000

'We're planning to have FULL stadiums,' says NFL exec as US coronavirus death toll nears 100,000
Troy Vincent, the NFL executive vice-president of football operations, says that plans are underway to ensure the start of season takes place in full stadiums - unless they are told otherwise by the medical community.

Even though their season is still months away from beginning, the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has been felt in the NFL. Last month's Draft took was intended to be a glitzy affair in Las Vegas; instead it took place through a series of Zoom calls hosted by commissioner Roger Goodell in his basement.

Off-season training camps were supposed to be underway by now but coaching has moved into a virtual realm, with the league's player learning the X's and O's on an iPad in place of a practice field. 

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Still though, with the season set to begin in September it is hoped that the virus which has ravaged global sport will be under a semblance of control which will allow the sport to get underway in capacity stadiums, rather than the muted behind-closed-doors scenarios we are seeing elsewhere at present.

"We are planning to have full stadiums until the medical community tells us otherwise. Now remember when we're talking - we're talking about September, August, September. So there's a lot that can happen here. So we're planning for full stadiums," Vincent said when pressed on the issue by NBC. 

"We also know that we have to plan for half stadiums. Three-quarters. So we're planning for all of these different scenarios."

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"But first and foremost, we're making every effort, working with the medical community, if we can have those stadiums with all people until they tell us otherwise when that time comes, that's our plan."

Various US sports, including the NBA and MLB, have already outlined plans to resume their seasons with all games taking place in one concentrated area and without fans, but it is thought by NFL brass that the time between now and September could be sufficient for the situation to develop positively.

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However, the numbers are the moment are not promising. The United States is currently approaching 100,000 deaths from Covid-19 as well as more than 1.6 million infections. These numbers are expected to fluctuate further as more and more states outline steps to relax the stay-at-home guidelines designed to stop the spread of the virus. 

Epidemiologists have also warned of the possibility of a 'second wave' of infections in the fall which could hit in the middle of the NFL season, potentially causing more disruption to an already hugely-impacted sports landscape.

The NFL, you feel, has its fingers crossed.