HomeLifestyleDavid Moyes fears for football if coronavirus forces games behind closed doors – saying the game is for fans – The Sun
David Moyes fears for football if coronavirus forces games behind closed doors – saying the game is for fans – The Sun
DAVID MOYES fears for football if the coronavirus forces games to be played behind closed doors.
The West Ham boss spoke out as panic swept the sporting world with France now prohibiting any event involving more than 5,000 people.
Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl has banned his players from signing autographs and having selfies taken to minimise contact with fans and stop the spread of the deadly bug.
Five Serie A matches in Italy were yesterday postponed until May, while Premier League games may have to be played in empty stadiums in the worst-case scenario.
Moyes said: “If football is going behind closed doors it is not worth it because football is for supporters. Football is for fans. That is what it is for.
“We are trying to treat it seriously. The more you wash your hands the more you don’t mix in company where you could be infected.
“I was disappointed that Inter vs Juventus was called off. For that to be called off in the world we live in, in football, is a real shame.
“I hope we can find a way of not letting it spread and overcoming what is going on.”
Newcastle boss Steve Bruce said: “When you see what’s happening in Italy you have to worry about it.
“A game of football is not as important as people dying. We’ll have to do what we have to do.”
BE SAFE, BUT DON'T PANIC
While Palace boss Roy Hodgson added: “You’re talking about a medical issue that will be dealt with by the FA and the Premier League.
“We need to follow our own doctors’ advice so we keep ourselves as free from the virus as much as we can.”
Formula One, rugby union and cycling have already been directly affected.
West Ham’s players have been issued with hand-sanitising gel by the club but were left to make up their own minds about whether or not to shake hands with the Southampton players before kick-off yesterday.
Players including Hammers skipper Mark Noble and Southampton’s Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg opted for a precautionary fist pump while others did shake hands.
But Saints boss Hasenhuttl revealed after the game he is taking extra measures for safety’s sake.
He said: “I still hope this virus will not be that big. We must pay attention obviously.
“But don’t get in too much panic about it. What you can do is keep your hands clean and try to avoid contact like selfies or autographs.
“I think it was a good idea, the fans will understand and we don’t want to spread it.
“For the moment we should let go because we try to avoid every contact with everybody. We try to avoid every handshake in the morning to let it spread as little as possible.
“But we don’t want to panic too much because we are not that far with it.”
More than 83,000 people in 50 countries have been infected with the flu-like Covid-19 disease.
Moyes said: “I don’t think we had much instruction from the Premier League about whether all handshakes should be banned today. I didn’t even see what the players did.”
Later this month the cosmopolitan Premier League will halt for an international break, scattering players all over the world.
Moyes added: “We are taking advice off the medical people and staff are advising me and regularly giving it to the players.
“It’ll be interesting to see where it goes in the next few weeks because we have the international break coming up.”
France’s Health Minister Olivier Veran banned meetings of more than 5,000 people “in a confined space”.
Announcing the ban, Veran said: “All public gatherings of more than 5,000 people in a confined space are temporarily banned across France.
“These measures are temporary and we will likely have to revise them.
“They are restrictive and paradoxically we hope they don’t last long because that means we will have contained the virus’ spread.”
Five Serie A matches this weekend have been postponed.
Matches at Udinese, AC Milan, Parma and Sassuolo have also fallen victim to the outbreak of the virus in Italy.
The games were initially going to be played behind closed doors but Serie A took the decision yesterday morning to call them off.
All five fixtures have been rescheduled for Wednesday, May 13.