Last week, the Philadelphia Eagles informed season-ticket holders that they had the choice of deferring their tickets for the 2020 season. File Photo by Derik Hamilton/UPI | License Photo
July 14 (UPI) -- Philadelphia officials said Tuesday that no fans will be allowed to attend Eagles and Phillies games this year, citing safety concerns amid the coronavirus pandemic.
"The Eagles are still going to be allowed to play, although without crowds," the city's managing director, Brian Abernathy, told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "The Phillies will continue to be allowed to play, although without crowds.
"We have been in communication with the Eagles. We have told them our expectations are that they don't have fans."
Philadelphia health commissioner Thomas Farley said although the NFL and MLB safety protocols "look pretty good," having spectators at the Eagles' Lincoln Financial Field or the Phillies' Citizens Bank Park would be unsafe.
"I do not think that they can have spectators at those games. There's no way for them to be safe having a crowd there," Farley said. "I can't say what the plans are for the league, but from a safety perspective, they can play games but not [have] crowds."
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said what happens in Philadelphia won't impact the league's decision-making for the NFL's other 31 franchises.
"We are gathering information on Philadelphia," McCarthy said in a statement. "Decisions on the number of fans at stadiums will be determined on a market-by-market basis."
The NFL has said from the beginning that safety decisions will be made in accordance with local and state guidelines and in conjunction with guidance from public health experts.
The city officials' decision to ban fans from attending professional sports games in 2020 comes on the same day Mayor Jim Kenney announced that all large-scale events in Philadelphia would be canceled through February 2021.
The Phillies previously announced they would play without fans in attendance this season. Last week, the Eagles informed season-ticket holders that they had the choice of deferring their tickets for the 2020 season.