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NFL says draft will go ahead in April but behind closed doors | Sport

The NFL has said one of the biggest events on its calendar, the draft, will go ahead as planned next month in Las Vegas.

Sporting events across the world have been cancelled or postponed during the coronavirus outbreak but the draft, in which teams choose college players to enter the professional ranks, will go ahead as scheduled from 23-25 April. However the event, which usually attracts fans from across the United States, will take place behind closed doors.

“This decision reflects our foremost priority – the health and safety of all fans and citizens,” the NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell, said in a statement. “While this outcome is disappointing both to the NFL and to the Las Vegas community, we look forward to partnering with the Raiders, the City of Las Vegas and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority for a future NFL Draft as well as evaluating opportunities for other major NFL events in Las Vegas in the future, including the Super Bowl.”

The news will be a huge boost to fans as well as dedicated sports channels such as ESPN, which are struggling to fill airtime with all major sports leagues in North America shut down as Covid-19 spreads. The NFL said it is “exploring innovative options” on how it can broadcast the event.

LSU quarterback Joe Burrow is expected to be selected by the Cincinnati Bengals as the No1 overall choice in this year’s draft.

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