Police want power to call off English season if fans break rules

(Reuters) - British police want to be able to cancel the football season if fans do not respect social-distancing guidelines once matches return after a halt due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Britain's highest-ranking football police officer has said.

Mark Roberts, the national lead for football policing, told newspaper The Daily Telegraph on Wednesday that supporters would not be allowed to congregate outside stadiums before or after matches while the virus was still a threat.

“What we don’t want is to do things that breach the lockdown and all the hard work that people have put in through social isolation by then having fans congregate at stadiums, training grounds," he said.

“What you could do if we start fixtures again is to be very clear that if fans don’t abide by the restrictions then the league can be curtailed. I’d be very keen to put it in the gift of the supporters themselves that, the more you abide by the restrictions, the easier it makes it to fulfil the season.”

The Premier League has been on hold since March 13 due to the pandemic although the British minister responsible for sport said he has been in talks with the organisers with the aim of getting football back as quickly as possible.

(Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Toby Davis)

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