Crunch Premier League coronavirus talks today set to lead to behind closed doors games soon – The Sun03/09/2020
PREM bosses will take a step closer confirming behind closed door matches because of the coronavirus today.
League chiefs along with the FA, EFL and broadcasters have been summoned to a meeting with government health advisers at the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.
Club bosses are now braced for an imminent demand to play at least two rounds of games without fans.
But it seems that this week’s Cheltenham Festival, European games involving Spurs, Liverpool, Wolves and Manchester United and Wednesday’s Prem clash between Manchester City and Arsenal will go ahead as planned.
Greece and Romania have joined the list of countries playing matches behind closed doors.
And with calls for similar moves in Germany, Europe appears on the brink of a widespread fan shut-out.
That is almost certain to impact matches including Wolves’ trip to Olympiakos, although Spurs have so far not been told to warn their fans against travelling to Leipzig for tomorrow’s Champions league second leg tie.
The football authorities are ready to heed and act on government advice with no efforts made to urge a rethink if the shut-out orders do come.
Prem bosses are determined to do everything in their power to ensure the season is played to a conclusion.
Playing a number of rounds without fans is seen as the least worst-case scenario as it will allow the games to be played and prevent potential legal issues over relegation, prize money and European slots for next term.
Immediate suggestions which could come into effect include a ban on over-70s attending games as they are the most vulnerable group to the worst impact of the virus, which has so far claimed three UK lives.
Broadcasters will be asked to agree to a lifting of the current contract restrictions, allowing all Prem matches to be screened live on TV during the shut-out.
The government is understood to be considering a ban on matches being screened in pubs, to prevent supporters spreading the virus.
But other concerns include fans congregating outside grounds at big matches to which the gates are barred, especially with Liverpool, closing in on a first title since 1990.
This weekend’s games, including Spurs’ clash with Manchester United on Sunday, do seem likely to be played before the clampdown comes into place, although if there is a spike in numbers falling victim to the virus that could also change.
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