Will the return of the Premier League lead to more coronavirus cases in England? Photo by AMA/Corbis via Getty Images

London mayor: Premier League return could lead to spike in coronavirus cases

The English Premier League is set to return on June 17, and although the stadiums will be empty, London mayor Sadiq Khan still has his fears regarding a return to action. The Premier League has been suspended since March due to the coronavirus pandemic, and Khan is afraid that fans will crowd the stadiums as soon as matches resume, leading to a rise in cases of COVID-19.

"I am concerned about any action that could inadvertently lead to the virus spreading," Khan told LBC. "Let me make a confession. Even though I'm a south Londoner, I support Liverpool and that's why a small part of my brain is keen for us to return. But actually the bigger part of my brain is saying safety is what matters.

"We don't want to inadvertently, for the best of intentions -- all of us need cheering up, there's nothing more joyous for sports fans than watching sport on TV, even without the crowds -- but we need to make sure we don't inadvertently give an opportunity to the virus to spread."

Khan isn't the only one concerned about fans crowding stadiums, either. Police across England also are worried that supporters will flood the outside of stadiums even if they can't watch matches.

The Premier League's return has been criticized by many, including France manager Didier Deschamps who says its return is because of money. 

While health and safety concerns for the teams returning to action are rising, Germany's Bundesliga is in the midst of a very successful resume to play. 

Liverpool sits atop the Premier League standings with a 27-1-1 record and 82 points. Manchester City, Leicester City, Chelsea and Manchester United round out the top five. The first fixtures played will be Manchester City vs. Arsenal and Aston Villa's battle against Sheffield United. 

The EPL isn't the only soccer league returning to action in the coming weeks. Italy's Serie A got the green light to return on June 20, La Liga also is set to return next month and Major League Soccer may return as early as July. 

Erin Walsh is a Boston sports fan through and through. Although many think Boston sports fans are insufferable, Erin tries to see things from a neutral perspective. Her passion is hockey, and she believes defense wins championships. In addition to covering sports for Yardbarker, she covers Boston sports for NBC Sports Boston. Follow her on Twitter @ewalsh90



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MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
Can you name every player who was awarded the Golden Boot in the FIFA World Cup?

The award was not officially awarded until 1982 when it was called the Golden Shoe. It was renamed in 2010. As of 2010, ties are now broken by assists and playing time.

SCORE:
0/27
TIME:
5:00
2018 / ENG / 6
Harry Kane
2014 / COL / 6
James Rodríguez
2010 / GER / 5
Thomas Muller
2006 / GER / 5
Miroslav Klose
2002 / BRA / 8
Ronaldo
1998 / CRO / 6
Davor Suker
1994 / BUL / 6
Hristo Stoichkov
1994 / RUS / 6
Oleg Salenko
1990 / ITA / 6
Salvatore Schillaci
1986 / ENG / 6
Gary Lineker
1982 / ITA / 6
Paolo Rossi
1978 / ARG / 6
Mario Kempes
1974 / POL / 7
Grzegorz Lato
1970 / WGER / 10
Gerd Muller
1966 / POR / 9
Eusebio
1962 / CHI / 4
Leonel Sanchez
1962 / YUG / 4
Drazan Jerkovic
1962 / BRA / 4
Vava
1962 / BRA / 4
Garrincha
1962 / USSR / 4
Valentin Ivanov
1962 / HUN / 4
Florian Albert
1958 / FRA / 13
Just Fontaine
1954 / HUN / 11
Sandor Kocsis
1950 / BRA / 8
Ademir
1938 / BRA / 7
Leonidas
1934 / CZE / 5
Oldrich Nejedly
1930 / ARG / 8
Guillermo Stabile

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