March 16, 2020 / 4:35 PM / 22 days ago

Draft to go ahead but all public events cancelled

(Reuters) - The National Football League draft will go ahead as planned next month but without any spectators in attendance as all public events have been cancelled in Las Vegas due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The draft scheduled for April 23-25 in Las Vegas will be televised and the NFL said it is exploring innovative options for how the process will be conducted.

“This decision reflects our foremost priority – the health and safety of all fans and citizens,” said NFL commissioner Roger Goodell 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 NFL draft, where teams select top college players, has become a hugely popular event with fans from across the country attending to cheer or jeer their teams selections.

Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto, editing by Pritha Sarkar

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