Premier League BAN players from shaking hands amid coronavirus outbreak after first UK death – The Sun

THE Premier League have banned the pre-match handshake amid fears over coronavirus.

Instead, players and officials will line up as usual when they come out of the tunnel but then not shake hands as the home team walk past the away side.

The measure will come into force this weekend – starting with Saturday's early kick-off between Liverpool and Bournemouth – and remain in place until further notice.

The Reds are also taking extra measures in a bid to stop the spread of coronavirus, which includes not having mascots at Anfield.

It comes after the first UK death as a result of the deadly bug on Thursday.

The Royal Berkshire NHS Trust said the 75-year-old had underlying health conditions as the number of cases of the killer bug topped 100 across the country.

A Prem statement read: "The Premier League fair-play handshake will not take place between players and match officials from this weekend until further notice based on medical advice.

"Coronavirus is spread via droplets from the nose and mouth and can be transmitted on to the hands and passed on via a handshake.

"Clubs and match officials will still perform the rest of the traditional walk-out protocol ahead of each fixture.

"On entering the field of play, the two teams will continue to line up, accompanied by the Premier League music, then players from the home team will walk past their opposition without shaking their hands."

On their website, the league also posted advice to fans who are planning to travel to games in the coming weeks and how to protect themselves.

Arsenal opted to use fist bumps rather than shake hands against Portsmouth on Monday night.

Last week, Newcastle manager Steve Bruce revealed the club had stopped their morning handshake ritual.

West Ham boss David Moyes said his players would be fist bumping instead of shaking hands.

Southampton have also banned players from signing autographs or taking selfies with fans. Meanwhile, clubs are preparing to play games behind closed doors.

SunSport revealed on Tuesday how Prem chiefs have sent letters to all 20 sides warning of the possibility of no fans in grounds to ensure the season is completed.

However, a long list of sporting fixtures have already been scrapped or postponed as authorities take further steps to try and reduce the spread of the infectious disease.

Italy's Six Nations fixtures against Ireland and England will be played later in the year while the Chinese Grand Prix, football matches in Italy and the UAE cycling tour have also been suspended.

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