Washington Football Team has become the latest National Football League franchise to announce it will play home games without fans during the 2020 season.
The team said that due to an “abundance of caution due to the rapidly changing dynamics of the Covid-19 pandemic” spectators will not be allowed at FedEx Field for at least the start of the campaign.
The decision will be evaluated should circumstances related to the coronavirus change over the course of the season.
“We are fortunate to host the best fans in the NFL year after year, but the well-being of those supporters, along with that of our players, coaches and each and every member of our gameday staff is simply too important, and the current knowledge of Covid-19 too unpredictable, to welcome our fan base to FedExField to start the season,” Washington Football Team owner Dan Snyder said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the New Orleans Saints will not host fans at the team’s first home game this season (against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on September 13) due to the coronavirus crisis.
The team also said it was “unlikely” that fans will be able to attend the September 27 game against the Green Bay Packers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Last week, the Packers announced they will play at least their first two home games of the 2020 season without fans at Lambeau Field in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.
Other NFL teams who are not allowing fans at home games include the Las Vegas Raiders and New York Jets and Giants, who share MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.
The name of the NFL’s Washington franchise has been temporarily changed to Washington Football Team after the controversial Redskins nickname was dropped. A new name is being developed.