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Matt Hancock hopeful grassroots football can return before coronavirus vaccine is found

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said he 'very much hopes' grassroots football will be able to return before a coronavirus vaccine is found.

While the English Premier League is looking to restart its campaign in mid-June with an extensive testing process, the future of the non-league game is much more uncertain.

The 2019/20 season at Steps 3-7 has been scrapped after halting in March, and with social distancing measures expected to be imposed for a number of months, there have been doubts if any football at those levels and below will be possible until a vaccine can be rolled out.

Matt Hancock speaking at Number 10's daily coronavirus press conference (35039178)
Matt Hancock speaking at Number 10's daily coronavirus press conference (35039178)

At today's virtual coronarivus press conference from Downing Street, former Leicester City midfielder and Wales international Robbie Savage – on behalf of the Daily Mirror – asked Hancock for some clarification on the matter.

The MP for West Suffolk said: "For many people, being able to play football is a huge release.

"Unfortunately, these rules have to be in place among the population as a whole because we have got to get a grip of this virus.

Non-league grounds have been empty since March
Non-league grounds have been empty since March

"I very much hope we won't have to wait for a vaccine. We're putting in place things like testing and tracing, whilst allowing more social distancing measures to be lifted. We want grassroots football back as soon as we safely can."

Meanwhile, chief medical officer Chris Whitty added: "I definitely hope football will be available possibly with some degree of change of how it's played. There may be some ways we have to think it through in advance of a vaccine."

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