Every match in England to be held behind closed doors as part of a coronavirus plan which could be implemented as early as Thursday.
According to a report by The Times, all football supporters will be banned from watching professional football matches in the United Kingdom with an expected announcement to be made in the next 24 hours.
A meeting of the government’s Cobra committee this morning is expected to move its response to the coronavirus pandemic from “contain” to “delay”, meaning all football matches will have to be played in front of empty stadiums.
The Times article claims:
● The current season will not be postponed and instead matches in the Premier League and lower divisions will be moved behind closed doors;
● All Premier League season-ticket holders and ticket holders for individual games will be able to stream coverage of matches into their homes;
● No games will be shown in pubs so as to avoid congregation of people;
● Premier League games will not be shown live in the 3pm slot on Saturday afternoons;
● Broadcasters will be permitted to screen more than one Premier League game during both the lunchtime and tea-time television slots on Saturday, and the scheduled slots on Sundays and Mondays; and
● Season-ticket holders and ticket holders for individual games at Football League clubs will be allowed to watch matches on iFollow streams.
— Helen Miller (@MsHelicat) March 11, 2020
Every match in England is to be held behind closed doors as part of coronavirus plan which may be implemented once the number of UK coronavirus cases passes 500. On Wednesday night it stood at 460.
Up to eight Arsenal players and staff are self-isolating with after their side’s clash at Manchester City on Wednesday was postponed.
This comes after Olympiacos and Nottingham Forest owner Evangelos Marinakis, who tested positive, attended a Europa League game at the Emirates last month.
Arsenal are having a deep clean of the stadium and training ground, and anyone who was within two metres of Marinakis for more than 15 minutes, including anyone sitting near to him in the directors’ box, are being advised to self-isolate.
Juventus star Daniele Rugani is the latest highest-profile footballer to have tested positive for the virus, with the Serie A club confirming that those who have come into contact with the defender will also be checked.
Inter Milan have subsequently halted all sporting activities – with Rugani an unused substitute for that clash.
All sport in Italy has been cancelled until April 3 in an attempt to combat the virus.
A host of European fixtures, involving Chelsea and Manchester United, will also be played behind closed doors.
FAN REACTION ON TWITTER:
Will drive lower league clubs out of business with no gate receipts
— Stephen Mc Cormack (@Violent_Kn1ght) March 12, 2020
Man city fans won't know the difference
— Wayne (@waynepunkdude) March 12, 2020
As someone who runs a bar, I hope this isn't true. So many pubs rely on sport to bring the customers in, it's going to be an absolute nightmare
— Craig Ellis (@CraggerRagger) March 12, 2020
Feel like, as a season ticket holder I would want some sort of reimbursement
— Fridge (@Chad_sfc) March 12, 2020
Playing games behind closed doors will absolutely knacker lower league clubs. Why do the games need to go ahead? If it's decided it isn't safe for fans then just suspend the leagues for a bit. Surely players can't be happy to keep playing? It's only football FFS.
— Dicko (@DickoLCFC) March 12, 2020
If they want to stop people going to pub, make the games free to watch on BBC/ITV
— Alexazz_ (@alexazz_) March 12, 2020
“Football needs to be behind closed doors”
— Right In The Gary Kellys (@RITGK) March 12, 2020
Behind closed doors is ridiculous. Fans will just gather outside the ground instead and the games will be shit. Look what happened in the CL and Serie A. Postpone it.
— • Phil • (@Phillyconcarne) March 12, 2020
So why are they not shutting down the tubes and buses which carry millions of people everyday ?
— borislufc (@JohnEva11183490) March 12, 2020
Then they forget all the fans of these teams will all be stood next to each other outside the stadium and in the streets ?
— Dan Tinnion (@DanTinnion95) March 12, 2020
We finally get a Devon derby on sky and it's going to be behind closed doors??#pafc
— David (@DW94_) March 12, 2020
Whilst we all appreciate the seriousness of Covid-19, this could cause carnage. Smaller clubs rely heavily on bi-weekly turnover as do thousands of shops and businesses near to grounds.
— Pandamonium Fanzine (@Pandamonium1881) March 12, 2020
If football is played behind closed doors, I presume we’ll be closing shopping centres, stopping trains, closing restaurants etc too? All a lot more infectious than football stadiums.
— Jack Ashbourne??????? (@JackAshbourne) March 12, 2020
Seeing the fuss people are making about football going behind closed doors gives me no confidence in our country surviving a zombie apocalypse.
— The Scratching Shed (@TSSLUFC) March 12, 2020
Can’t play games behind closed doors, clubs in lower leagues will go bust #CancelEverything
— Baz (@Barry1878) March 12, 2020