Clubs told to prepare to lock out fans over virus fears

Monday, 9 March, 2020 137comments  |  Jump to last

The government sees no rationale for cancelling sporting events yet but Premier League clubs are being advised to make contingencies for playing matches behind closed doors amid concerns over the spread of novel coronavirus.

Though the UK has reported just 319 cases of COVID-19 so far, there are fears that the government may follow Italy's lead in mandating that matches be played in front of empty stadiums.

Representatives of the top-flight clubs were summoned to a meeting held by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport today, where the assessment was that, while there is no immediate threat to Premier League games, clubs were told to make sure they are prepared.

According to The Mirror, among the other proposals discussed were less easily enforced measures like restricting attendances to set numbers and also stopping fans over the age of 70, the age group most at risk to the virus, from going to games.

A statement later from DCMS read: “Based upon the current scientific advice from the Government's medical experts, there is no rationale to close or cancel sporting events as things stand.

“We will remain in regular dialogue with sports governing bodies and broadcasters, ensuring they are in receipt of the most up-to-date guidance from the health authorities.”

Should a ban on spectators be enforced, the FA may consider lifting restrictions on live TV coverage of traditional 3pm Saturday kick-offs.


Reader Comments (137)

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Paul Hewitt
1 Posted 09/03/2020 at 22:29:03
Starting on Monday hopefully.
Lyndon Lloyd
2 Posted 09/03/2020 at 22:31:04
That would be worse for us, Paul. Our biggest hope is that we can generate an atmosphere to inspire our shower to perform!
Paul Hewitt
3 Posted 09/03/2020 at 22:35:25
Unless you're going to shut down all sporting events school, cinemas, restaurants, basically everything. What's the point?
Bob Parrington
4 Posted 09/03/2020 at 22:45:03
It's not the virus itself but is the panic about it. it's driving the world mad.

Here in Adelaide the supermarkets are running out of toilet paper. We see people with trolleys full of the stuff. Many of the Chinese community are sending the stuff back to China, where there is a shortage apparently.

Maybe we'll see a resurgence of using what we had to do when we were kids in the 1950s - Newspaper. Just think about it - a revival of the old media?

Come to think of it, this is apt as most of it is a load of crap anyhow!

There is a good fun video on YouTube – WIE MAN MIT EINEM OHRWURM EINEN VIRUS BEKAMPFT – it's sung in English to the tune of I Can't Get No Satisfaction (The Stones).

Eugene Beh
5 Posted 09/03/2020 at 23:30:43
Bob. Somehow it is best to use water to clean instead of using toilet rolls. We saw the fight on YouTube. Really sad this is happening.
Andy Crooks
6 Posted 09/03/2020 at 23:42:28
There is some excellent stuff on another thread from Lloyd Brodrick and Jay Wood. I have my own views on this but I am quite prepared to admit they may be ill-informed. I fear that football is going to get hit so ToffeeWeb is going to be pretty important to all of us.

Anyway, we have Cheltenham.

Frank McGregor
8 Posted 10/03/2020 at 01:24:22
If this closure happens or not, I really wish we would play as many of the young prospects from the U23 team till the end of the season.

Give the fans something else to look at rather than the poor performances we are being subjected too. Forget about Europe. It's time for change at 95 per cent of positions.

Brian Wilkinson
9 Posted 10/03/2020 at 02:11:52
Here's one for you, Andy, if football does indeed get hit.

2020: Coronavirus causes football to shut down; Champions – Liverpool.

1985: Liverpool caus European no-go; Champions – Everton.

1982: War in the Falklands; Champions – Liverpool.

1939: Second World War halts the Football League; Champions – Everton,

1914: First World War halts the Football League; Champions – Everton.

Is there something in the water on Merseyside?

[All tongue-in-cheek.]

Alan J Thompson
10 Posted 10/03/2020 at 04:02:59
So somebody thinks it is a better idea to stop 30-40,000 attending a football game but having a couple of hundred, half of whom may have traveled half the length of the country, at a game behind "closed doors" is a good idea.

As for stockpiling toilet rolls, this a virus that affects your breathing so you'll have problems more with your nose than with your arse! But does this mean that rather than one being born every minute that one is dying every day?

Jamie Crowley
11 Posted 10/03/2020 at 04:48:06
Last Thursday, I travelled to the Miami area to see my Boston Bruins play the Florida Panthers (NHL). I bought Corona beer in cans. They were 24 ounce cans for only $8. For a professional sporting event here, that is dirt cheap.

Supposedly, sales of Corona beer have dropped because some absolute geniuses think the beer can cause coronavirus.

I had a beer per period, three beers. Good times. Best $24 I've ever spent. Bruins won in overtime 2-1 in case you were remotely curious.

If England plays the games behind closed doors, based upon the number of cases in your country, I find that to be moving past "prudent" and into "over-reacting". And by over-reacting, I mean $8 24-ounce Corona over-reacting.

Having said that, coronavirus surely is just ramping up to a full-blown zombie apocalypse.

John Pierce
12 Posted 10/03/2020 at 04:51:45

Premier Hotels in NYC are down to $150/night.

Hamilton: front mezzanine $350. Me and the Mrs are off for a fancy weekend. One roll of loo paper should fund the entire expedition!

It's having a marked affect on things for sure.

Jamie Crowley
13 Posted 10/03/2020 at 05:02:38
Sir John -

Take a look at Wall Street lately?

There's been a correction coming; it's overdue. But coronavirus might cause a full-blown recession if this continues.

And that'll trickle down. China is most affected by coronavirus to be sure (presently). Toss in an American down-tick in the economy, and guess who really gets hurt?

The poor Chinese people. We stop buying, they lose jobs. Sick, impoverished, and unemployed is a shit thing.

Brian Porter
14 Posted 10/03/2020 at 07:27:45
The whole coronavirus thing has, in my opinion, been blown totally out of all proportion by a knee-jerk reaction from the world's media who have shamelessly helped to generate a world-wide panic over an illness which, in reality has had little global effect.

The 1918 influenza pandemic killed between 15-20 MILLION people around the world, more than were killed in action during the first World War.

Even last year, flu killed over 30,000 people according to figures released by the US CDC (Centre for Disease Control).

So far, I believe we've had five deaths in the UK, not exactly epidemic proportions! All but one had existing health issues and were thus more vulnerable.

Yet, the world is going crazy, panic buying, stockpiling loo rolls, and now various governments are seriously considering banning sporting events or having them take place behind closed doors.

Have the snowflakes taken over the world? I'm sorry, but I fail to see the reasons for such a mad panic. We're nowhere near epidemic proportions, and even if we were, just keeping people away from football grounds isn't going to be the cure.

God help us if we had to go to war tomorrow. This country has totally lost its spine, its stiff-upper-lip 'Britishness'. We wouldn't stand a bleedin' chance!

Hugh Jenkins
15 Posted 10/03/2020 at 07:38:35
It does seem strange that football is to be played behind closed doors yet they are expecting 250,000 over four days to attend the races at Cheltenham.

Where is the logic?

Paul Tran
16 Posted 10/03/2020 at 07:49:21
Good luck at Cheltenham, everybody!
Colin Glassar
17 Posted 10/03/2020 at 08:09:23
The season should be abandoned now and declared null and void. That would really piss off our neighbours.

Yesterday, I bought the last pack of bog roll left on the shelf. This panic buying is bullshit and someone's making a fortune out of it.

Derek Knox
18 Posted 10/03/2020 at 08:13:11
Hugh @ 15, there is no logic, mate, as with all these sort of dilemmas, people go into 'panic mode' and exacerbate the situation. Why the stock-piling of toilet tissue has become a priority is an example of such inane behaviour.

Like you so succinctly say, the expected crowds at Cheltenham with no restriction, in comparison with all football matches being played behind closed doors, it defies belief almost.

I feel for one of our own, John Boon, who now lives in Canada, and has arranged to fly over with two sons for the derby, which could ostensibly be a 'non-event' — does he get compensated? I doubt it very much!

Mind you, after Sunday's debacle, most of us are not looking forward to a match that could confirm Liverpool as Champions.

Dave Williams
19 Posted 10/03/2020 at 08:43:23
Well said, Brian Porter – I thought I was being unreasonable thinking that way!
Jack Convery
20 Posted 10/03/2020 at 08:50:45
Well done, the Italian government – protecting its people first and foremost. Unlike the UK and US who are more worried about their economies as per usual.

As someone who has underlying health issues and a daughter with a chronic condition, this is no laughing matter. The UK should call off all gatherings immediately and, if the virus keeps spreading, lock down the whole country. Only when a member of the Royal family gets it will we see real action.

A virus with the potential to kill people with existing health conditions is a Tory dream – all those people who can't contribute to the wealth of the country taking a hit – just what the Tory spin doctor ordered.

Brent Stephens
21 Posted 10/03/2020 at 09:04:14
The EFL are today saying that spectator-free games could kill off many clubs in Leagues One and Two.

An interesting dilemma for season-ticket holders, as to whether they would try to reclaim part of the season-ticket cost and thereby contribute to their club's demise; or treat it as a sunk cost to themselves, and thereby help their club to survive.

Thoughts if this scenario were to impact on Everton? My two penneth worth? I wouldn't reclaim.

Eddie Dunn
22 Posted 10/03/2020 at 09:17:43
The buying of loo roll is simply in case we are put into lockdown like italy have just announced. Inability to go shopping or unavailability of certain vital prducts due to supply issues are the real reasons for buying in bulk. My mate has 7 kids, so needs a hell of a lot of bog-roll.

As for sporting events or any mass gatherings – if they are not strictly necessary, then play them all behind closed doors for a few weeks The clubs make most of their money from TV anyway. In the UK, we only have a relatively small number of cases as yet, but like Italy, it could suddenly shoot upwards.

My mate here in rural Wales has to go up to London once a month for work and he works with an Italian from the Lombardy area, and the italian said that people round there ignored the warnings, determined to continue their very social lifestyle, some saying it won't happen – all media hype, and some selfish ones, saying they didn't care if a bunch of old people croaked it.

Either way, ignoring it won't stop it. The UK government only care about the economy, and will happily overlook the unnecessary fatalities as long as they can elongate the curve on the bar chart, so that the Health Service can cope over a long but less intense period.

It would (imo) be better to have a lockdown now and try to nip it in the bud. There will then be plenty of other sporting events later in the year.

Terry McLavey
23 Posted 10/03/2020 at 09:35:47
It would be bloody ironic if we won on Monday and nobody saw it!
Jimmy Hogan
25 Posted 10/03/2020 at 09:48:10
Brian #14, I think we have to look at what is happening in Italy. Hospitals are completely overwhelmed, heart attack and stroke victims are going untreated, people with severe respiritory failure are going untreated and in some cases not even being assessed.

The whole health service is operating at 200% capacity and it is generally reckoned that Italy has a very good health service. People at ground floor level are talking about chaos and now a lot of the healthcare professionals are becoming ill.

It will take a miracle for the same thing not to be duplicated in the UK.

Mark Daley
26 Posted 10/03/2020 at 09:57:53
On the evidence of Saturday I think our team has already got it; I blame Ancelotti, he's Italian. It's obvious when you think about it.
John Cook
27 Posted 10/03/2020 at 10:07:55
Typical of this country, first thing some people think is how much money can I make out of this situation. I still think signalling out over-70s is ageism. As I said on another article, if this virus affects respiratory sufferers, you have to include asthmatics, COPD sufferers, smokers... the list is endless.

Most of the over-70s have fought for their countries: Vietnam vets, Afghanistan, Falklands etc., I'm sure this virus is the last thing on most of their minds. Most people I have seen wearing masks seem to be younger than 70... for fuck's sake, have a bit of common sense!

Paul Hewitt
28 Posted 10/03/2020 at 10:15:26
If there's one person you don't want in a crisis. It's Boris bloody Johnson.
John Cook
29 Posted 10/03/2020 at 10:21:14
Spot on, Paul Hewitt, he's panicking over the fact he may have to change his baby's nappy. Mind you, he's always had a Nanny to do that.
John G Davies
30 Posted 10/03/2020 at 10:24:50
A little bit more stoic in the east end. Old lad on the telly laughing saying he's not bovvered about the Miley Cyrus concert.

Politicians creating panic.

Michael O'Malley
31 Posted 10/03/2020 at 10:30:03
My dad, who has been a season ticket holder for 50 years, is mortified that he could be stopped going the match cos he's a pensioner.

On Facebook the other day, I saw that someone was asking 𧸖 for hand sanitizer. It's a shame that some people's first thought is to profit on the back of this virus, it looks really scary what's going on in Italy.

Jimmy Hogan
32 Posted 10/03/2020 at 10:34:17
Michael #35, this is the country that gave the world "the Spiv".

Michael O'Malley
33 Posted 10/03/2020 at 10:34:20
There are idiots going in to Chinese chippies by mine and verbally abusing the staff tell them to fuck off back to China, most of them were born here.
Jay Wood

34 Posted 10/03/2020 at 10:41:41

Correct. See a photo at this link.


Note the red fencing.

It was a Liverpool v Man Utd game in the 1970s.

Paul Hewitt
35 Posted 10/03/2020 at 10:44:04
Michael @ 38, that's my worry. Not the virus, but the idiots who overreact. If we did shut down like Italy. How long before some idiots started looting?.
Ray Roche
36 Posted 10/03/2020 at 10:45:08
Forty minutes?
Paul Hewitt
37 Posted 10/03/2020 at 10:56:15
I think countries should have done what South Korea did. In the first week of the virus, they completely shut down. They now haven't had any new cases in 10 days.
Philip McKeown
38 Posted 10/03/2020 at 11:28:30
Eddie Dunn 22,

Hit the nail on the head right there.

Steve Carse
39 Posted 10/03/2020 at 11:45:22
Jack (20) and Eddie (22), the Government is right to be considering the impact on the economy. Around 1% of the country will likely be affected by the virus, but 100% would be affected by a severe economic downturn.
Brent Stephens
40 Posted 10/03/2020 at 12:00:26
#46. Good!
Brian Harrison
41 Posted 10/03/2020 at 12:00:33
Seems that different countries are dealing with the coronavirus very differently, depending on the level of contagion in each country. Taiwan which is very close to the original outbreak in China, and maybe because of the effect SARS had in that country, they started very early testing everyone who entered the country. They also had hand sanitizers at the airports for new arrivals. So far, they have only had 45 cases and 1 death.

Whereas Germany aren't at the moment considering playing any of their clubs' games behind closed doors, or making any restrictions in movement. And they have far more confirmed cases than the UK.

Eddie Dunn
42 Posted 10/03/2020 at 12:13:20
Steve @47, from what I've been hearing, 1% is way below the percentage affected.
Chris Williams
43 Posted 10/03/2020 at 12:27:27
The mortality rate is being estimated at 1% of those who contract this. I don't know if that might be confusing the issue.

Really informative article in today's Guardian about this. It reckons that someone with this, tends to infect two other people on average, and also most infections tend to be passed on in families.

Early on it is similar to flu, and it's thought that this confusion explains why they were so slow catching on in Italy. About 80% of cases are extremely mild and some are not picked up. This is why early estimates of mortality might have been overstated.

It dispels a few myths, and worth a read. It doesn't underplay the seriousness of it either.

It's also saying that food bank donations are plummeting, in some areas by 75%, because of hoarding.

Simon Smith
44 Posted 10/03/2020 at 12:31:11
Start sharpening those garden tools people... the zombies are coming!
Steve Carse
45 Posted 10/03/2020 at 12:48:33
Eddie, as Chris points out, the percentages you're reflecting on are those related to death rates to date, not the proportion of the population likely to catch the virus. There are fewer than 300 confirmed cases in the UK so far. The UK total population is something like 65M so my 1% figure for people affected (650,000) is going to be a massive overestimate in fact. Maybe a hundredeth of 1% is much more likely in regards to known cases.
Ian Riley
46 Posted 10/03/2020 at 13:01:58
All matches should from now be played behind closed doors. This should have started from last weekend. This virus is killing the most vulnerable in society and numbers will only rise. Make no mistake, Italy is in lockdown, and this could happen here. Hospitals are full anyway and this will mean elective surgery being put on hold. Intensive care units will be full and beyond.

Yes, we are more prepared than Italy as governments across the world put measures in place. However, they are in the dark on how many people will become ill. Please do not think mass gatherings at football grounds won't put numbers up. Let's not encourage the virus to spread. As we know, human beings are inherently selfish with their own behaviour. Governments need to protect everyone.

It's only a game!!

Charles Brewer
47 Posted 10/03/2020 at 13:12:49
I definitely think that the season should be abandoned. It's the only sensible move.

And would cause hysterical laughter across the entire country as the whining RS get a splendid bit of karma payback.

Eddie Dunn
48 Posted 10/03/2020 at 13:29:05
Steve, it's so hard to estimate because the Chinese figures can't be believed and the Italian situation was like our own just two weeks ago. Until more time has passed and various countires are compared, we really won't know the facts on percentages of infections and the death rate.

A friend has a brother in London who is a hospital consultant and he told my friend that we (the public) don't know the half of it. The government are worried about panicking the populace.

Patrick McFarlane
49 Posted 10/03/2020 at 13:38:57
The rate of mortality isn't really the yardstick to measure the virus by, it's the demand that it makes on the health service as a whole. The aim is to ensure that the peak is flattened out over a longer period of time, thereby allowing the hospitals to cope with a steady demand – particularly for the ICUs.

If the Government allow life to continue as normal they run the risk of increased infection rates and the possibility of overwhelming the hospitals. It's not an easy call to make and I'm glad it's not my decision to make.

John Boon
50 Posted 10/03/2020 at 13:55:08
This has possible and different consequences for every Evertonian.

In my case, I am flying home to Liverpool from Canada with my son, John "Everton", and my son-in-law, Dan. We all want a Blue win, despite the challenge, as well as the virus. Everton seem to have had a virus all season. My son will also be celebrating his 50th birthday while I will be celebrating just being able to be at Goodison Park. So PLEASE let the game go on.

To a regular ToffeeWebber, John McFarlane. Hope to see you and any other true Blues on Tuesday 17 March at the Central Hotel at 12.00 noon. This will make our one week fly over worthwhile, hopefully with two more points

Jamie Crowley
51 Posted 10/03/2020 at 14:27:52
The DJIA is up 773 points right now. Perhaps we're realizing the numbers aren't even in our pandemic zip/postal code yet?

I understand the calls for caution. It makes sense. But the reaction is completely over the top. The numbers simply don't justify it. The response from the powers-that-be is one of fear. They don't know how to combat this, ergo, they're scared of the consequences.

Wash you hands kids, and pray for calm and good health.

Play the games. Don't do it behind closed doors. We're not there yet, and the evidence is we will never be there. China is already showing receding, and Korea is the same. This, like all things, will pass. Keep that economy going and dump some serious money into R&D in case it rears it's ugly head again.

Frank McGregor
53 Posted 10/03/2020 at 14:40:49
It is my understanding that coronavirus surfaced in January this year 2020. The questions I have are how many people have died due to influenza during the same period worldwide? How many have died worldwide due to euthanasia and abortion during the same period?
Paul Hewitt
54 Posted 10/03/2020 at 14:51:47
Janie @62. How can you be so sensible at a time like this.
Chris Williams
55 Posted 10/03/2020 at 15:11:40

I'm with you in my astonishment at some of the nonsense and over reaction going on. Similar happened with SARS and Ebola and neither of those achieved the levels forecast, but I'm tending towards caution on this. The Head of Public Health here has just said that the peak in the UK won't START for another fortnight.

I've been amazed that the main panic merchants have been health professionals, both here and WHO. This has fed into everything else. Bog rolls and FTSE alike!

Andrew Heffernan
56 Posted 10/03/2020 at 15:13:54

Unless severely asthmatic or pensioner or child another respiratory or severe illness, coronavirus will have little impact other than flu symptoms. Issue is panic by some due to overhype by the media which leaves any government no option but to react and plan.

Kieran Kinsella
59 Posted 10/03/2020 at 15:32:31
Colin Glassar

I have this sense the EPL are trying to get the RS over the line before delaying/cancelling any games.

Len Hawkins
60 Posted 10/03/2020 at 15:38:07
50 years ago, we were being told there would be flying cars by 2020.

Now we are being told how to wash our hands.

Dave Abrahams
61 Posted 10/03/2020 at 15:39:04
Chris (65), I think he did, I wasn't sure, that's why I put he scored at least two.
Paul Hewitt
62 Posted 10/03/2020 at 16:29:30
Poor Italy. Now they have had an earthquake.
Brian Wilkinson
63 Posted 10/03/2020 at 16:42:41
Kieran, I had the same thought myself, they must be praying Arsenal take at least a point off Man City, to try and get them over the line as soon as possible.
Darren Hind
64 Posted 10/03/2020 at 17:13:23
Chris and Jamie. Re panic....

Difficult to know. I'm a bit of a semi-panic merchant here. I don't take it too seriously, but I'm making sure my family do.

Illogical? Yep

Jamie Crowley
65 Posted 10/03/2020 at 17:21:05
Darren -

It's not panic, it's sensible. I mentioned previously I went to South Florida to see the Bruins play the Panthers (NHL).

I had my 10 year old wash his hands like 6 to 7 times throughout the course of the game. That's basic, intelligent stuff.

Making sure your family is safe is like Dad job #1 for me. It's not illogical. You're just hedging your bets for what matters most.

Eddie Dunn
68 Posted 10/03/2020 at 17:31:23
Patrick @67. That is a great read! imagine it these days...the ramifications...unless you are a Red of course!
John Pierce
69 Posted 10/03/2020 at 17:45:27
The virus is known to die at higher temperatures, hence the frequency of hand washing right with piping hot water? Barely a case of it in the hotter regions of the world, especially equatorial parts.

What song do we wash our hands to folks?!

Joe McMahon
72 Posted 10/03/2020 at 17:53:20
We should be alright, I don't think the virus spreads around wood.
Brent Stephens
79 Posted 10/03/2020 at 18:07:14
Just heard that you guys in the US of A don't even know how many people have been tested as it's done by hospitals and they're private and they don't have to report to anybody but shareholders and in any case etc etc...
Paul Tran
88 Posted 10/03/2020 at 18:54:01
Wash your hands. Go about your normal business. Be mindful about what/where you eat. Wash your hands

And remind people about the Russia Report, about 𧴺bn and counting for Brexit and Johnson's corrupt dealings. That is why this ridiculous panic is being perpetrated by the media.

And wash your hands.

And if, like me, you had a shocker at Cheltenham, there's three days left, so keep swinging!

Derek Valentine
89 Posted 10/03/2020 at 19:29:29
In the middle of this coronavirus scare I think it's only right that the football season should end. Give Liverpool the Premier League trophy with no ceremony, but before they get it, take it on an Olympic torch like tour of England and get everyone to sneeze on it.
Gordon Adie
90 Posted 10/03/2020 at 19:42:43
My conspiracy theory would be that this virus has been released intentionally to wipe out the old and infirm, freeing up hospital beds all over the world, solving the dementia problem. The problem then would be the loss of so much wisdom, especially Tony Marsh.
James Marshall
91 Posted 10/03/2020 at 19:43:39
Ending the season now sets off a massive amount of legal issues. The contracts for the Premier League, broadcasting and club commitments is massive. The same can be said for all the lower leagues as well (on a smaller financial scale obviously).

There are a huge number of issues associated with ending the season, which can't be wiped out with one wide brushstroke.

One thing to note on all of this, is that the UK is on the brink of moving from the current 'Containment' stage, to the second phase which is the 'Delay' phase. This involves "social-distancing" tactics such as closing schools, postponing or cancelling large-scale gatherings and encouraging people to work from home. Much of this is highly likely to happen in the coming days as the rate the virus is spreading is still increasing.

Look at Italy, they had 168 deaths in the last 24 hrs, Iran 54 over the same 24 hrs. It hasn't reached peak yet, so sport will have to fall in line with the above phases of dealing with it whether we, or anyone who runs a football club likes it.

The next 2 phases are "research" and "mitigate". The UK is readying itself to attempt to stop it reaching it's peak until the summer. That's a few months away, so this is likely to be a longer haul than people realise based on figures. If we reach the "mitigate" phase that means you could see Police only being allowed to work on major crimes, and you'll likely see the army on the streets controlling movement. Football will simply have to stop in my view - if we reach these points.

The way it's spreading and the way in which it's dealt with now, have a massive impact on the longevity, and severity of it. The bottom line is that this is not driven by football, nor is it driven by sport or large-scale social gatherings on the whole. It's driven by the phases and the advice of the WHO and others who are trying to control this on a world scale. Unfortunate as it could be, small football clubs going out of business are really not the point in any of this.

Disclaimer: I am not your average toilet roll buying scaremonger, and this is a worst case scenario (probably).

Michael Lynch
92 Posted 10/03/2020 at 19:58:20
Can't believe the RS game isn't being played behind closed doors. Madrid has such a large number of cases that they're shutting all the schools, and all football matches in Spain will be played behind closed doors for the next two weeks. So why do they think it's sensible to encourage a few thousand Atletico fans to make the journey to Liverpool?

It's incredibly irresponsible in my opinion.

Bill Watson
93 Posted 10/03/2020 at 19:59:59
Frank #64,

The UN estimates around 25,000 people die EACH DAY from starvation.

As starvation doesn't affect the wealthy, it's not seen as an issue!

Don Alexander
94 Posted 10/03/2020 at 20:14:53
The death rate in China is reported to be slowing in a significant way as of today. Too early to be sure admittedly but improving weather temperatures may well turn out to be the virus killer.

Here's hoping anyway... and, in the meantime, it's more of the 20-second shuffles under a hot tap.

Mike Connolly
95 Posted 10/03/2020 at 20:46:01
Pensioners band from games. does this mean Kenwhright will not be allowed in
Colin Glassar
96 Posted 10/03/2020 at 20:58:11
He'll try and bunk into the boys pen, Mike. Oh, wait...
Mike Connolly
97 Posted 10/03/2020 at 22:11:01

I'd love to see a game like that now. Imagine the derby: Schneiderlin jumping in like Sandy Brown on Henderson. Or Sigurdsson sorting out Johnny Morrisey style on Van Dijk.

Yeah... 'Imagine' is about right.

Eddie Dunn
98 Posted 10/03/2020 at 23:11:37
Bill, @111, well observed mate. Sums up the priorities in this world.
Alan J Thompson
99 Posted 11/03/2020 at 04:10:09
James (#91); Is it not possible to declare something along the lines of Force Majeure or in the public good and declare a postponement of fixtures and maybe seeing a possible Government edict to that effect strengthening the position.
Bob Parrington
100 Posted 11/03/2020 at 06:47:30
John @69, I don't get no... disinfection! (Sung to The Stones' "I don't get no Satisfaction", as per my earlier post. Goes well to the great beat!
Bob Parrington
101 Posted 11/03/2020 at 06:50:40
Eugene @5 My mate Anand, in India, sent me a short video about returning to using the Namaste rather than shaking hands. Not a bad idea.

If using water, best it be hot, as mentioned earlier by a TW poster, the virus don't like it hot!

Daniel A Johnson
102 Posted 11/03/2020 at 08:06:38
Sporting event fan bans may seem OTT but prevention is better than watching the country slide into a crisis.

The reality is that NHS ITUs won't be able to cope. NHS critical care runs at an average of 60-70% occupancy anyway so imagine if we get serious cases on the scale of Italy. There won't be enough specialist equipment such as respirators to cope with the needs of the seriously ill.

Be good if fans were banned from events then Sky out of goodwill made Football broadcasting free online for all matches whilst the ban was in place.

On the plus side, the Liverpool victory parade will be cancelled.

Alan McGuffog
103 Posted 11/03/2020 at 08:11:39
Seemingly the advice is to stand three metres away from people in crowd public situations. As if we weren't bad enough at set-pieces already.
Tony Abrahams
104 Posted 11/03/2020 at 08:14:08
Anything over 27 degrees is what scientists in Asia are now saying kills this virus. Don't use ice, and another interesting one coming out of Japan, is keep having little sips of water, because this infection usually starts in the throat, and constantly drinking will help flush it down into our stomach, and it will then be destroyed by the acid that we all possess in our stomachs?

It looks obvious to me that the only thing that's going to contain this virus in certain geographical areas is to shut everything down for a while, read PH@37, and the more I think about Madrid moving towards lockdown, but their fans are travelling to this city to watch their team play, then this is why this virus is not currently being contained.

Haven't heard from Mike G, for a few days on TW, and I hope it's because he's got nothing to say (very unusual,) and his family are all still fine stuck in China.

Michael Lynch
105 Posted 11/03/2020 at 08:26:39
Tony, I agree about the Atletico fans, as I said above @92, and it seems like the Spanish Government agree with us too:

"Atletico Madrid will refund fans who have purchased tickets for Wednesday's Champions League game at Liverpool but decide not to attend.

The move comes after advice given to the club related to the coronavirus outbreak from the Spanish government, which does not recommend travel from Madrid and considers it “irresponsible behaviour to go against this directive."

"In a statement on their official website, Atletico told supporters that Uefa, along with authorities in Liverpool, confirmed the last-16 match – into which Diego Simeone's men carry a 1-0 first-leg advantage – would go ahead as planned and be open to both sets of supporters."

So Uefa and "the authorities in Liverpool" know better than the Spanish government, it appears.

Derek Thomas
106 Posted 11/03/2020 at 08:28:11
Jamie @ 51; spot on about it happening again. Has anybody got the clout / carrot / stick big enough to have a word with China – the cause of most of these things – about getting their public health / live food house in order.
John G Davies
107 Posted 11/03/2020 at 08:30:27
Imagine the impact if the authorities closed the season down. Null and void.
One can only hope.
Brian Williams
108 Posted 11/03/2020 at 08:38:33
Well, the Man City v Arsenal game's been postponed now and I can't see how that one could be a one-off. I'd expect all other Premier League games to follow suit now, surely?
Patrick McFarlane
109 Posted 11/03/2020 at 08:41:47
I think they'll play out this weekend's games, Brian, and if Man City don't win and we lose, the league will be officially won, and then they might decide to postpone the rest of this season.

Apparently Uefa are seriously considering putting back the European Championship from this summer to next, thereby allowing extra time for clubs to fulfill their domestic fixtures.

Lee Gorre
110 Posted 11/03/2020 at 09:52:50
Patrick @110, there's more to the league than the title, there are 3 relegation places to fill, Champions League and Europa League to qualify for, so postponing the season wouldn't make any sense.
Patrick McFarlane
111 Posted 11/03/2020 at 09:56:58
Lee #111, I kinda knew that, nothing makes sense at the minute does it? I'm afraid that the cultish club are very powerful and, if it was another club at the top, I suspect the suspension of the Premier League would have already been in place.
Brian Harrison
112 Posted 11/03/2020 at 10:43:21
It does feel like we are only days away from the government stopping gatherings of more than 1,000 people. I think it also needs to postpone games rather than play behind closed doors; otherwise, as many have commented, it will just mean local pubs and clubs will be rammed with people wanting to watch the game.

As Guardiola says, this game is all about the fans turning up and watching their teams play, and if that's not possible, then postpone rather than play behind closed doors.

The government health officials are estimating that the peak of the virus in this country will happen within the next 2 weeks, so it seems that, if we don't stop large gatherings now, in a week or 10 days, it might be too late to delay the contagion.

Brian Williams
113 Posted 11/03/2020 at 10:50:13
Re my post at 109. Seemingly the game's postponed only because Arsenal players had contact with the Olympiakos owner who has the virus, so may not impact the derby, other than Liverpool can't win the league at Goodison now, I believe.
Tony Abrahams
114 Posted 11/03/2020 at 11:33:02
Shut the league down now! — prevention is definitely better than cure!!
John G Davies
115 Posted 11/03/2020 at 11:41:33
No chance of a decision shutting any leagues down in the middle of the Cheltenham Festival. They will let the Lords and Ladies have their few days in the sun; then we will see sporting events closed down.
Bob Parrington
116 Posted 11/03/2020 at 11:42:35
WTF. Let's all panic and run like the Pied Piper headlong in to the Mersey. OMFG. It's a feckin' virus that's got limitations.

Somebody please start to talk some sense on this!!!!

Brent Stephens
117 Posted 11/03/2020 at 11:59:04
Re the argument about not allowing over 70s into grounds as they are more vulnerable to the virus, I think it would be better to allow ONLY over-70s in. They can spread themselves out in the ground, so anybody already infected wouldn't infect anybody else. And all the under-70s are safe from the disease-ridden over-70s. And should I die at Goodison Park, scatter my remains over the pitch – no cremation, just scatter my remains.

Dave Abrahams, keep yer distance in the Upper Bullens.

Tony Abrahams
118 Posted 11/03/2020 at 12:07:11
Limitations that will mean the end for a lot of people, Bob, and that's why I think John G has called this one right imo.
Dave Abrahams
119 Posted 11/03/2020 at 12:16:39
Brent (117), yes I'll keep my distance!!!

To be honest I'll abide any suggestions that keep this infection down. I think most people will be sensible and use the advice of specialist medical people that helps to get us through this situation. It is very worrying but it is best to stay calm and not get paranoid over this virus.

Jimmy Hogan
120 Posted 11/03/2020 at 12:18:28
The Man City v Arsenal game tonight is off due to Arsenal having to isolate certain players. Is that the end of the Shite clinching the title at Goodison?
Brent Stephens
121 Posted 11/03/2020 at 12:23:28
Dave #119,

"I think most people will be sensible and use the advice of specialist medical people that helps to get us through this situation."

The voice of reason, as ever.

Per Stumo
122 Posted 11/03/2020 at 12:50:02
Not normally one to spread Joe Rogan around but this one on the virus, with Michael Osterholm, is very informative. Plainly laid out too.


As for the game, well, after last Sunday I lost hope. One more trashing coming up, unless we sign Billy Gilmour! Who said you can't run a midfield in the Premier League without being a swole motherlicka? The kid looks like he's 14!

Tom Bowers
123 Posted 11/03/2020 at 13:04:44
I say cancel the rest of the season, declare it null and void, and start afresh next season. RS fans all agree, right!!!
Craig Harrison
124 Posted 11/03/2020 at 13:24:42
Arsenal played Olympiacos on February 20th and 27th. They are concerned as the owner had Covid-19 on the 27th, if that's the case, it was highly likely he had it on the 20th and was contagious.

Arsenal played us on the 23rd... should Everton not be self-isolating as well?

Michael Lynch
125 Posted 11/03/2020 at 13:42:52
If Man City lose to Burnley, the Shite can still win the Premier League at Goodison Park, because they would have a maximum point tally of 84 and the Shite would be on 85 if they beat us. In fact, if Man City draw with Burnley on Saturday, the title will be as good as won if the RS beat us cos of their superior goal difference.

Bill Gall
126 Posted 11/03/2020 at 14:07:55
There is one consolation in all this: if I run out of toilet paper, I can use the Liverpool Echo with the headline Liverpool Win The League. The thing that amazes me is the Man City v Arsenal game is cancelled because a couple of the Arsenal players may have been in contact with a director of another club, yet Liverpool are allowed to play their European game with a large contingent of Spanish fans coming over from Madrid that is infected with Covid-19.

If, after the Liverpool vs Atletico Madrid game is over and a couple of cases come up, you can bet that the derby game will behind closed doors.

Michael Lynch
127 Posted 11/03/2020 at 14:22:46
Be too late Bill - the RS will infect our glorious home before they even realise they're infectious.

I think they should be hosed down with bleach on arrival and made to sit in their underpants with their faces covered with royal blue masks. And every time they sing that dirge, they should be showered with ice cold piss.

Brian Wilkinson
128 Posted 11/03/2020 at 14:53:47
Quite a few games being played behind closed doors. Did anyone for one minute think that the Red Shite should be asked to play their Champions League game at Anfield behind closed doors?

You can bet your life had the shite won the first leg one-nil at home and tonight's games would have been in Madrid, it would have been played behind closed doors.

The FA are praying Man City slip up and the Premier League gets wrapped up quickly. I know there are other spots near the top or bottom as important, but the FA, media and Sky want their darlings crowned Champions before a possibility of a shutdown.

Brian Wilkinson
129 Posted 11/03/2020 at 15:41:09
In regards to above, if they stop Madrid fans from travelling, then the game will have to be played behind closed doors.
Michael Lynch
130 Posted 11/03/2020 at 16:07:36
It's insane. Madrid now has over 1,000 cases of Coronavirus, as against just 5 in Liverpool. It's like they want to give a kick start to the disease on Merseyside by importing 3,000 people from one of the worst hit cities in the world.

The authorities in this country are clearly not even slightly serious about trying to contain Covid-19, so why all the fuss about washing hands and self-isolating? What's the point of self-isolating when thousands of people are being encouraged to fly in from a virus hot-spot and mingle with the locals?

Bill Gall
131 Posted 11/03/2020 at 16:10:56

Any supporter from Liverpool that stood in the Kop is used to being pissed on. Another thing that makes me laugh is they are asking the supporters to follow personal hygiene when they use the toilets... I guess they don't live in the real world.

John G Davies
133 Posted 11/03/2020 at 17:48:31
Hopefully the Atletico fans are very friendly tonight. Smother the Liverpool fans with loads of kisses and handshakes.
Brian Wilkinson
134 Posted 11/03/2020 at 18:20:30
Sounds good John, only problem is they will be descending on Goodison next Monday.
Michael Lynch
135 Posted 11/03/2020 at 22:45:58
Excellent. Now we should do the right thing and say that, as the Shite fans have been mingling with the Spanish fans, it's not safe for them to come to Goodison. Close the away section on Monday.
Steve Shave
136 Posted 11/03/2020 at 22:55:49
I haven't read any of the above comments, nor have I got involved in the Coronavirus hysteria. However, a thought popped into my mind this morning whilst driving to work (and forgive me if someone has mentioned this already) but imagine how the RS will feel when they win their first title in an age and they won't be able to celebrate in front of their fans!! Same applies to when they get presented with it!

That kept me going for much of the day, couldn't wipe the smirk off my face talk about take the edge off the celebrations. :)

Eddie Dunn
137 Posted 11/03/2020 at 23:00:48
Michael – absolutely right, how can the government allow 3,000 people from a country almost as infected as Italy stroll into the city in this manner? Great result... I love Simeone.
Gavin Johnson
138 Posted 11/03/2020 at 23:58:01
I think all matches should be called off. The disease isn't going anywhere and will be here for a while. Ideally, write this season off due to the early Euros. RS don't win the title (the ultimate revenge for Heysel) and nobody gets relegated and nobody gets promoted. We start again next season.

You can't even have closed-door games if they're televised. Imagine being in pubs around the city for the derby. Packed pubs are probably a bigger breeding ground for the virus than being at the ground.

Arild Andersen
139 Posted 11/03/2020 at 00:02:33
With the coronavirus, WHO calling it pandemic and all, are there tiny, tiny chances that the Premier League has to be sensible, stop the rest of the matches,and cancel this year's competition?
Rob Halligan
140 Posted 12/03/2020 at 00:13:35
The Times tomorrow is reporting that all this weekend games will be played behind closed doors. As Gavin says, pubs all over the city crammed to the rafters on Monday night probably carry more of a risk then attending the stadium. I certainly couldn't watch a derby match in a pub with RS there. I'd be arrested!!
Jay Wood

141 Posted 12/03/2020 at 00:44:26
Rob @ 142.

"I certainly couldn't watch a derby match in a pub with RS there. I'd be arrested!!"

Time to self-quarantine Rob before the bizzies do!

Steavey Buckley
142 Posted 12/03/2020 at 00:46:10
"Clubs told to prepare to lock out fans over virus fears" while the UK government is allowing travelers into the UK from infected ships and countries without being tested for coronavirus on arrival, just told to self isolate. Oh, yeah, while one Chinese traveler has infected Washington state, USA, by himself.
Brian Wilkinson
143 Posted 12/03/2020 at 00:57:22
What they are looking to do is to show the games live for free so people will watch the games at home and put some kind of block on so pubs cannot get the games.

How they will manage that I have not got a clue.

Mike Gaynes
144 Posted 12/03/2020 at 02:41:57
I haven't been on the board much in the past week, but things have gone certifiably nuts here in the good old U-S-of-A.

Tonight the NBA season was suspended indefinitely because a top player, Rudy Gobert of Utah, was diagnosed with the coronavirus.

March Madness, the annual college basketball tournament, will be March Muted because all games will be played in empty arenas.

Tom Hanks came down with the virus in Australia. And my choir has suspended operations, perhaps for the season, because rehearsal was too much of a health risk.

If the Premier League season gets cancelled, I give up.

Darren Hind
145 Posted 12/03/2020 at 02:48:06

I noticed Mike G has been a little quiet too. The bruises on my arse are starting to heal without him kicking it. Hopefully he's simply taken to the beach to psych himself up or Monday.

Best wishes to you and yours, Mike, if you are logged on.

Darren Hind
146 Posted 12/03/2020 at 02:49:59
As if by Magic...
Lloyd Brodrick
147 Posted 12/03/2020 at 02:57:38
Allowing Milan fans to fly over and mix in the city was insane. Just as insane as letting the Juventus fans travel to Lyon last week.

I've just been looking at the exponential growth in cases on the WHO website. We all know what a nightmare Italy is going through and their health staff must be exhausted as they have a exponential growth rate in cases of 4 days which is a doubling of cases every 4 days. This means the 10k they have now could be 320,000 in 20 days, lets hope their belated measures interrupt the spread.

This is why we need to lock down now. The UK also has a 4 day growth rate. Spain's cases are doubling every 2 days.

China only slowed the growth rate by locking down which explains the actions of Italy. China now have a growth rate of 30 days, they have some control now and we have a long way to go. If we do not act now we will be where Italy is today with 12,000 cases by the beginning of April. If we are not then we have managed to slow the growth.

Mike Gaynes
148 Posted 12/03/2020 at 03:09:22
Darren, thanks and apologies for being derelict in my half of our debates. I am now almost recovered from both the Chelski disaster and a case of the flu, and I am ready to mount up and take up my lance again.

Now if I can just get my family home, everything will be hunkydory.

James Hughes
149 Posted 12/03/2020 at 06:52:46
PSG played behind closed doors so all the fans just gathered outside the ground. A pointless exercise.
Dale Rose
150 Posted 12/03/2020 at 07:44:58
They haven't issued any guidelines as yet regarding putting the head on somebody yet. I suppose it's only a matter of time though.
Derek Knox
151 Posted 12/03/2020 at 08:14:41
James @ 149, spot on there, what is the point? I noticed preceding the game between Liverpool and Atletico, the no-handshakes policy was observed, but they were all within the one metre of each other, so what was the achieved by the first 'precaution'?

During the game, there was a mini-altercation between Trent Arnold and an Atletico player following a rash tackle by the former, and the usual simulated head rutting ensued between the two. Again well within the one metre parameter.

Mike G, I was curious as to your absence from TW, you have been missed, sorry to hear your wife is still not re-united with you mate. Hopefully sense and sensibility will replace downright panic sooner rather than later.

Lee Gorre
152 Posted 12/03/2020 at 09:22:34
The ban on pre-match handshakes is just ludicrous given what happens after in the game – before kick-off, players on the same side shake hands with each other, hug each other, some have the ridiculous huddle. Then, after the game, everyone shakes hands, hugs, exchanges sweat.
Mike Gaynes
153 Posted 12/03/2020 at 09:27:59
Thanks, DK, but I wouldn't call it panic. This thing is bad, bad, bad, and the urgency is justified IMO.
Mike Doyle
154 Posted 12/03/2020 at 10:12:15
Mike #144,

Do you think it was the Tom Hanks story that pushed Donald Trump over the edge?

Jamie Crowley
155 Posted 12/03/2020 at 12:38:50
Per @ 122 -

That clip is fantastic. I watched last night, extremely informative.

Is it just me, or does anyone feel the data just isn't there to justify this reaction? I'm NOT trying to dismiss this, and yes, I understand the virus can spread and we are closer to the beginning, rather than the end.

It just seems like a sensationalist, wild reaction.

In the end, my thoughts are: even if it is, if it keeps people more healthy and more safe, so be it.

Michael Barrett
156 Posted 12/03/2020 at 15:10:55
Breaking news, lads and lasses, my partner works for John Moores university... she was told at 2pm by the vice chancellor that the whole university is closing down. She is being sent home, and I wouldn't be surprised if the Premier League follows suite, playing behind closed doors.

I hope they do it before Monday... we will get battered anyway. So watch the news in the next couple of hours for the government announcement.

Charles Brewer
157 Posted 12/03/2020 at 19:29:11
I reckon it's 70/30 that no more matches are played this season.
Charles Brewer
158 Posted 12/03/2020 at 19:42:00
Breaking News:- Three Leicester players going into slf-isolation.

I'll raise my odds of no more football this season to 90:10.

Looks like the RS will miss out on winning the Premier League by about 4 days. Oh well, never mind.

Gavin Johnson
159 Posted 12/03/2020 at 19:43:18
The ideal scenario for me would be to have the game behind closed doors but televised free, either by the club or Sky, to stop a lot of people going to pubs.
Bill Watson
160 Posted 13/03/2020 at 09:54:00
Club is now in complete lockdown and all staff sent home to self-isolate.
Kunal Desai
161 Posted 13/03/2020 at 09:59:03
Season over. Needs to be scrapped. The Premier League need to have the balls to tell Klipperty and Co to do one and replay a new season.

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