The threat of coronavirus has already led to Europa League games being played behind closed doors, games in Serie A being postponed and now clubs across Europe are telling their staff to not shake hands as the virus continues to spread.
Premier League clubs are taking extra precautions as both Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur have asked visitors to their training grounds to fill in a health form when they arrive, Bayern Munich have told players not to sign autographs for fans or take selfies for them, while games across Europe have been impacted as Switzerland have banned all games until mid-March and five Serie A games will be played in empty stadiums.
Tottenham’s Heung-Min Son will self-isolate after he returns from surgery in his homeland of South Korea and doubts are emerging about whether international games will go ahead in March.
As for the PL, Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce explained to reporters that staff and players will no longer be encouraged to shake hands when they arrive each day around their training ground.
“There’s a ritual here that everybody shakes hands as soon as we see each other every morning – we’ve stopped that on the advice of the doctor,” Bruce confirmed. “Thankfully, we’ve got a superb doctor here and he will keep us informed of what we have to do. We’re like everybody else, we’re glued to the TV for where it’s going to go next and let’s hope it doesn’t get any worse in this country.”
Bruce was asked if he remembered any precautions like this is in the past.
“No, not at all. Look, in confined areas like we’ve got here… There was a time over Christmas when if there’s a virus knocking around – which is not coronavirus – then you have to be careful so we’re a bit mindful of it, the fact that a bug can sweep through. We had four or five at Christmas and two of my staff, so you stay at home, basically. But it’s always something you’re looking at,” Bruce added.
West Ham’s manager David Moyes has revealed that West Ham have a similar plan in place, with fist bumps allowed but no handshakes and every Hammers player has been given some hand gel to use.
“After consulting with the medical team, we have supplied all the players with hand gel to keep with them,” Moyes said. “We’ve also agreed to no shaking hands at the moment, just fist bumps. If we score tomorrow, of course they’ll be able to celebrate.”