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New virus protocol could see empty stadiums starting this weekend

| Thursday, 12 March 2020 148comments  |  Jump to last
Monday's Merseyside derby could be played behind closed doors with The Times reporting that the Government is expected to move to a new stage in its efforts to combat the spread of novel coronavirus, perhaps as soon as today.

The paper claims that the Government's Cobra committee will meet this morning where they are expected to agree to move its response to the COVID-19 pandemic from the “contain” phase to the “delay” phase which would see "social distancing" measures implemented nationwide.

That would involve restrictions on the size of gatherings — typically to around 1,000 people — and would necessitate a crisis plan being unveiled for football.

Under the proposals, the Premier League season would not be suspended or cancelled; rather, all matches would be played without spectators and pubs would not be allowed to show games to discourage the gathering of supporters.

No Premier League games would be played at 3pm, allowing English Football League clubs to stream their matches over iFollow, and all season-ticket holders and ticket holders for individual games would be able to stream coverage of matches into their homes.

The report says that the plan could be put into action once cases of the coronavirus in the UK pass 500. At the time of writing, the total is 460.

Suggestions that the season should be cancelled have been dismissed given the enormous penalties the League would incur from not fulfilling its overseas broadcast contracts. Cancellation of matches would only be considered if infections spread among the players, as is now the case in the National Basketball Association in the United States where a member of the Utah Jazz team has tested positive for COVID-19.

A postponement of games for a number of weeks would threaten the European Championships which are scheduled to kick off in June and is, therefore, not being considered.

Reader Comments (148)

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Kunal Desai
1 Posted 12/03/2020 at 07:07:15
We all love the game but in this situation football along with other major events with mass gatherings is secondary. The health of all humans is paramount.

I think the season should be scrapped and restarted again once the pandemic is over. No FA Cup and League winners.

Colin Glassar
2 Posted 12/03/2020 at 07:09:48
I second that, Kunai. Let's finish this season NOW and start anew in August. No winners, no losers, same fixtures next season etc.
Derek Knox
3 Posted 12/03/2020 at 07:13:24
I have been following the news about this subject with interest, but still feel although a degree of caution and sensibility should be observed in terms of personal hygiene, I still feel that the panic aspect of it are escalating.

An 'expert' on the BBC has categorically stated that it DOES NOT mean everyone will die from it. In fact it's about 20% of those infected who may succumb to the illness. Of that percentage most with underlying existing diseases, such as respiratory, cardiac or diabetes are at risk.

He further stated that it is more like a bad dose of the flu, to those who contract it.

Eric Myles
4 Posted 12/03/2020 at 07:21:14
Derek #3, not 20%, more like 2%.
Chris Williams
5 Posted 12/03/2020 at 07:38:59

I've read that piece on the BBC too, and several others as well. And I agree that the consensus seems to be as you say.

80% of those who get it will get flu like symptoms, some mild, and recover. The other 20% will get something worse, of whom 5% will get a nasty dose.

I think the problem is the sheer volume of cases that are anticipated. 20% of a huge number is a huge number. The impact across society is the issue.

It's right to maintain a healthy scepticism given the previous forecasts on SARS, Ebola, and to ignore panic stories wherever you may see them. It also makes sense to follow the advice re hygiene and quarantine especially if you're in the at risk categories. I seem to be because of my age.

However I'm assuming there are people using sophisticated modelling to monitor and forecast, and what they're seeing is sufficiently concerning to result in cutting interest rates and take pretty strong action in the Budget in the billions.

Everyone tells us that it is a worst-case scenario that is driving this. Okay well the next fortnight should tell us a bit more clearly what we might expect.

Tony Abrahams
6 Posted 12/03/2020 at 08:03:14
A stitch in time saves nine, and prevention is better than cure. I read an Italian doctor, a man on the front line of this very contagious virus, and feel that closing everything down must be the best option right now.

I'm not expecting everyone to agree with me but my opinion was formed when this doctor said it's much more than a flu. He said I've been here two years, and the people of Bergamo don't go to hospital unless they really have to. They stay at home trying to get better for 8, 9, 10 days, and then they are coming because they can't breath.

The taxi-driver in Rome, made the most sense, he said they should have shut everything down two weeks ago, and every country should be looking at Italy, and realising this.

Shut it down for 2-3 weeks and let them play twice a week to make up the time would be my choice, especially because English clubs are dropping like flies in Europe, with only Wolves, and Man Utd, and Man City, maybe having problems coping if this happens?

Peter Mills
7 Posted 12/03/2020 at 08:06:08
The Premier League should be scrapped immediately.

The Champions League can carry on though.

Chris Williams
8 Posted 12/03/2020 at 08:16:31
It should be suspended, but it won’t be, unless EPL is dragged kicking and screaming and Sky along with it.

Too much money involved.

Both Klopp and Guardiola, as well as Espirito Santo have come out and said this I think. Some things are bigger than football.

Even some talk about deferring the Euros until next summer to accommodate this.

Brian Williams
9 Posted 12/03/2020 at 08:23:16
Suggestions that the season should be cancelled have been dismissed given the enormous penalties the League would incur from not fulfilling its overseas broadcast contracts. 

Surely world health and a declared state of emergency out trumps the details of these contracts if the government decreed the Premier League should be cancelled?

Derek Knox
10 Posted 12/03/2020 at 08:27:58
Chris @, the Media don't help as much as they could, preferring the sensationalism as opposed to being more precise with the actual facts.

They say so many have died from the disease, but fail to add that they were suffering from some respiratory, cardiac or had Diabetes before contraction.

They also omit to give the age of those who are unfortunate enough to have suffered a fatality, I don't expect them to detail each and every case, but a statement like all those who have died were...….. whatever the case may be!

It would go a long way to minimising panic, and leave people better informed, as opposed to implying it is a 21st Century version of the Black Death!

Jim Bennings
11 Posted 12/03/2020 at 08:37:32
Simple enough solution to just play every game from now until the end of the season behind closed doors, minimalistic measures should include players then being tested after each game they play (Arsenal players shook hands with the Olympiakos owner yet they haven’t even been tested, why?).

Fans should not be in a position to feel obliged to turn up for matches through blind loyalty to their team, what serious benefits will a full house on Monday night bring under the circumstances?

Ridiculous last night that Atletico fans arrive in thousands despite not being allowed to watch their own team in Madrid, where is the logic in that?

Avoid mass gathering so what do they do? Allow thousands to congregate all in one area on one night.

Common sense is very thin on the ground from people at the best of times and the government lead the way with mad decisions like this.

Make a decision today to play all games behind close doors and be done with it.

Derek Thomas
12 Posted 12/03/2020 at 08:51:30
Play behind closed doors, no feeds to pubs, no gathering outside the ground or other silliness, until the end of the month, then see where we are.

Though the proper 'we're taking no chances with this' response is lock down now, suspend everything for 6 weeks!

Chris Williams
13 Posted 12/03/2020 at 08:52:42
I see there’s footage of Klopp having a right pop at some Liverpool supporters reaching out for high fives.

Put your hands away you fucking idiots...

Martin Nicholls
14 Posted 12/03/2020 at 08:53:22
Jim #11 - I made the same point about Atletico fans on another thread yesterday. Add in the fact that a significant percentage of Liverpool fans also travelled in from far-flung destinations and a real "melting pot" is created.

The genie was released from the bottle here on Merseyside due to that match going ahead and I wouldn't be at all surprised to read of at least one Liverpool player now testing positive although, given the publicised incubation period, not before Monday.

Cancel all games now.

ps: If "behind closed doors" is indeed implemented today, will Cheltenham be treated similarly? I somehow doubt it!

Dave Abrahams
15 Posted 12/03/2020 at 09:06:45
As an aside to playing without fans, which I agree with, PSG played their game behind closed doors last night and thousands turned up outside the ground to cheer their team on. As some on here are asking, “Use your common sense”?
Chris Williams
16 Posted 12/03/2020 at 09:21:31

Good news doesn’t sell newspapers. I’d guess social media is worse but I don’t indulge.

I tend to use the BBC News app, and the Guardian app, which are pretty informative and up to date.

I’ve read that about 80% of fatalities are either people well over 70, or with a pre existing health condition, or both. Also in China and Italy.

Puts it into perspective I guess, but not much comfort for those who fall into those categories.

Brent Stephens
17 Posted 12/03/2020 at 09:59:59
BBC or Guardian apps, as Chris says.

Or Trump's tweets?

Chris Williams
18 Posted 12/03/2020 at 10:03:55
Don’t let’s get started on Trump again Brent!
Brent Stephens
19 Posted 12/03/2020 at 10:13:10
Nicholas Ryan
20 Posted 12/03/2020 at 12:01:36
The Premier League should be scrapped, about 30 seconds before Liverpool are going to win it!
Chris Williams
21 Posted 12/03/2020 at 12:18:37
La Liga suspended and Real Madrid in quarantine.
Patrick McFarlane
22 Posted 12/03/2020 at 12:21:00
Unsubstantiated rumours that UEFA are set to suspend Champions League / Europa League.
Jay Wood

23 Posted 12/03/2020 at 12:31:08
It looks to me that the house of cards is falling.

Around Europe it has progressed from playing games behind closed doors, postponing games and now suspending league competition.

Spain's La Liga has now followed Italy's Serie A in suspending all games following the Real Madrid squad going into self-quarintine.


It makes allowing 2,500 travelling fans from Madrid into Anfield last night look even more irresponsible.

Yesterday F1 champion Lewis Hamilton questioned what the hell the GP Circus was doing in Australia at this time. Today, one of the teams McLaren has pulled out of Sunday's race as their entire team has self-quarintined after a member was tested positive for coronavirus.


Why isn't FIFA or UEFA not taking a lead on this and ordering a blanket suspension of all league's and competitions? Because this piecemeal approach, allowing each individual national federation to take the lead, is not effective. It needs a unified, single response.

Yes, it will cause fixture chaos. Yes, sponsors will scream. But they shouldn't scream too loudly because if they are heard to complain their target consumers might keep their pennies in their pocket rather than buy from a company willing to sacrifice public health for air time at a live sport event.

No need for panic due to the unknown. Take informed decisions and be decisive. Get ahead of the curve ball on this rather than continue to 'muddle through'.

Someone in authority, please, stand up and take the lead on this.

Brian Hennessy
24 Posted 12/03/2020 at 12:37:29
Just been announced here in Ireland that all schools are to close from today until March 29th. All large public gatherings have been banned so practically all sporting fixtures are in effect postponed.

I can't see how the Premier League can continue with what's happening elsewhere.

Mark Andersson
25 Posted 12/03/2020 at 12:49:55
This whole thing is a con... Nothing to do with people's well-being and everything to do with economics.

Simple: China has become a big player in the global market. Chinese are buying into everything all over the world... including football by the way.

Americans have always sold their soul to the devil for money... and now it's come back to bite them in the arse.

Meaning that the good old USA have lost their dominance in the financial global control. So they have created a whole media panic to blame the Chinese, cause yet another world recession to bring their own country to its knees, until their government says "Hey, we can solve this... you, the American people, can rebuild our once great nation by you working hard for minimum wage." By this time, the sheep go along with it coz they're desperate, and the rest of the western world follows suit.

They created the problem knowing they had the illusion of having the solution. Meanwhile, Liverpool win the league behind closed doors against Everton... how ironic!

Jay Wood

26 Posted 12/03/2020 at 12:53:57
Seriously Mark..?
John G Davies
27 Posted 12/03/2020 at 12:56:37
I would put our squad into self-imposed quarantine and postpone the derby.

The way it is going, the league will want to introduce a ban but won't until Liverpool have won the league. We cancel, it's another week gone.

Michael Lynch
28 Posted 12/03/2020 at 12:57:29
I'm getting angrier by the minute about last night's match going ahead in Liverpool. I don't live up there anymore, but I have friends and family – including a daughter – living in the city, and I am seriously fucked off that their health has been put in danger. What fucking idiot green-lighted a team from Madrid being allowed to play a game in Liverpool?
Patrick McFarlane
29 Posted 12/03/2020 at 13:01:13
John G #27,

Some would argue members of the Everton defence have been operating in self isolation for most of this season.

Jamie Crowley
30 Posted 12/03/2020 at 13:02:42
Mark -

I agree with you that this may - MAY - be a bit overreactive.

But to claim the USA has fabricated this entire "media panic to blame the Chinese" so that they can con the American people into working for minimum wage is frankly bonkers.

Do you honestly believe what you just wrote? If so, can I get your take on UFOs and unicorns?

John G Davies
31 Posted 12/03/2020 at 13:09:58
Jamie C.

Yes mate, we all know governments would not, and do not, pull strokes to manipulate the working class.

Steve Brown
32 Posted 12/03/2020 at 13:12:16
Or Mark @ 25, the virus originated in wild animals sold in the markets in Wuhan for food. Not quite as interesting as your theories, but has the benefit of being factual.
John G Davies
33 Posted 12/03/2020 at 13:15:11
Is it officially factual, Steve B?
Steve Brown
34 Posted 12/03/2020 at 13:25:14
John, as it happened in China, it will be interesting to see if it is ever officially acknowledged by the government there. But, given they silenced doctors and covered it up for two months, I am not so sure.

I am based in Asia and visited Wuhan in April last year myself to meet our suppliers. They tell me that its origin was definitely the food markets in the city.

Patrick McFarlane
35 Posted 12/03/2020 at 13:29:31
Uefa statement:

In the light of the ongoing developments in the spread of Covid-19 across Europe and the changing analysis of the World Health Organisation, Uefa has today invited representatives of its 55 member associations, together with the boards of the European Club Association and the European Leagues and a representative of FIFPro, to attend meetings by videoconference on Tuesday 17 March to discuss European football's response to the outbreak.

Discussions will include all domestic and European competitions, including Uefa Euro 2020.

Further communication will be made following those meetings.

Jay Wood

36 Posted 12/03/2020 at 13:38:19
About bloody time, Patrick!
John G Davies
37 Posted 12/03/2020 at 13:39:34

That's not factual, mate. It's speculation.

Reminds me of the story spread by the gang that Aids was caused by an African dating a green monkey.

Chris Williams
38 Posted 12/03/2020 at 13:50:38

The day after the derby.

Chris Williams
39 Posted 12/03/2020 at 13:53:21
Steve @34,

I've seen that widely reported, about the live food markets being at the root of this. I'd assumed it to be factual.

Phil (Kelsall) Roberts
40 Posted 12/03/2020 at 13:58:47
I am an accountant and thankfully blagged my way through my law parts.

But there is something called Force Majeure. Can our legal friends please tell me why Premier League and others cannot stop all matches and declare Force Majeure (and explain for a load of people on here who have possibly not even aware of it what it is) and so prevent having to pay those enormous penalties?

It does seem to be a classic situation to use it.

Jim Harrison
41 Posted 12/03/2020 at 14:01:37
I have come over from Hong Kong. They shut all leisure facilities down really early and schools closed when there were only a few cases. It's been largely contained there and the region is one that suffers from terrible seasonal flu, so a decent model.

It's only a game at the end of the day. It's not just the stadiums, but all the rest of the matchday gatherings. Transport, pre- and post-match drinks.

It's a shame they can't postpone the matches rather than play behind closed doors as it's a bummer for the match-going fans but I suppose the scheduling would be a nightmare.

Jim Harrison
42 Posted 12/03/2020 at 14:03:24
Steve @3,

I don't think they are saying it originated at the market but that it was one of the main initial spreading locations.

John McFarlane Snr
43 Posted 12/03/2020 at 14:06:01
Hi all, as a member of the endangered species, approaching 82 years, and having underlying ailments, I fully support the medical experts around the world, and while I will miss the enjoyment (?) of attending matches.

I disagree with the quote attributed to Bill Shanly that, "Football is more important than matters of life and death." I have no doubt that it was a tongue-in-cheek remark, and I also believe that he will have had occasion to regret it.

On a more serious note, I'm quite prepared to sacrifice my match attendance for however long it takes, if it's for the benefit of the masses.

Jay Harris
44 Posted 12/03/2020 at 14:07:12
I know this is stronger than the flu but can't help thinking this is a total overeaction.

We should be concentrating on the elderly and infirm – not having a blanket closedown of society.

For most people who are unlucky enough to catch the virus (and a lot will), it will just be a real discomfort for a few weeks.

We should concentrate all resources on ensuring the elderly and sick are taken care of – not putting someone with a slight temperature in confinement.

Rennie Smith
45 Posted 12/03/2020 at 14:13:10
Of course people's health comes first and no risks should be taken regarding such, but I'll be gutted if the doors are shut.
John McFarlane Snr
46 Posted 12/03/2020 at 14:24:50
Hi Rennie, [45] unlike yourself, it's not the doors being shut that bothers me, it's the 'lid being closed' that causes me concern.
Brent Stephens
47 Posted 12/03/2020 at 14:25:55
"it's the 'lid being closed' that causes me concern"!

Very good, John!

Jamie Crowley
48 Posted 12/03/2020 at 14:28:58
John @ 31 -

I appreciate, more than you know, your cynicism.

But what I specifically asked was for this instance only:

Does the person in question actually believe the USA sensationalized Covid-19 to implicitly cause a recession to create an environment where America's workers would be forced to work for minimum wage, strengthening America's economy?

Governments manipulate things all the time. But if you believe the above, as was stated previously, sit down, pour a drink, relax, and think about what you're actually proposing for a millisecond. Nuts, John. Bonkers, "elevator not going to the top floor", "couple of sandwiches short of a picnic" nuts.

Rob Halligan
49 Posted 12/03/2020 at 14:30:07
Three Leicester first team players now showing symptoms of the virus. Report doesn't say which three. I can see all games being postponed this weekend and not played behind closed doors.
Rennie Smith
50 Posted 12/03/2020 at 14:41:34
If squads are being depleted, then postponement is the only option, as they've done with La Liga. They can't play matches, even behind closed doors, with half a team.
Kristian Boyce
51 Posted 12/03/2020 at 14:44:04
Just my luck, I'm flying in from the States tomorrow for a family event (thankfully I can still travel back to UK after Trump's mandate) and have tickets for the derby. First trip back to Goodison in 10 years, and probably my last before we move to Bramley-Moore Dock.
Rennie Smith
52 Posted 12/03/2020 at 14:50:37
590 confirmed cases, I think the threshold is 600 to start canceling things. You might be in luck, Kristian.
Jay Wood

53 Posted 12/03/2020 at 14:51:49
I feel for you, Kristian (and John Boon and family who are travelling over from The States this weekend).

This is now a fast-moving story. It is looking increasingly likely that football in the UK is going to be suspended this weekend for the forseeable future.

Daniel A Johnson
54 Posted 12/03/2020 at 14:53:44
The UK response has been typically muddled.

Atletico fans can't watch their team in their own country but they can all fly here, drink and eat, and watch the football in Liverpool?

Cheltenham race festival attended on average by over 120,000 people over its duration and it still goes ahead.

The most idiotic decision was the Ireland vs Italy Rugby game, the match was called off but the Italian fans were still allowed to turn up anyway for a weekend away in Ireland... crazy.

John G Davies
55 Posted 12/03/2020 at 15:01:30
Steady JC.

I didn't.

Rennie Smith
56 Posted 12/03/2020 at 15:04:55
God knows how they let Cheltenham go-ahead? 60,000 people sloshing about minesweeping other people's Guinness. If you know anyone that went, I'd swerve them for a few weeks.
Dave Abrahams
57 Posted 12/03/2020 at 15:16:57
On BBC Radio 2 about an hour ago, it was reported that the government, in a later announcement, around 4:00 pm, would be likely not close down sporting grounds just yet, but play it by ear, the situation, not the sport.

I suppose they are waiting for the epidemic to make big increases before they announce closing down big events.

Tony Abrahams
58 Posted 12/03/2020 at 15:36:41
The only thing that is certain is that this epidemic is going to have a big increase, so it obviously makes sense, keeping everything going, what’s the point in trying to slow it down? Crazy.

John G, said nothing will happen whilst Cheltenham is on, and it’s the biggest day of the festival tomorrow, so maybe this is causing the delay?

Mike Gaynes
59 Posted 12/03/2020 at 15:38:49
Chris/Steve/Jim/John G, yes, the virus did emerge first at the live market in Wuhan (I've actually been there), and the working theory is that it migrated from bats to snakes -- which are widely sold at the market -- and into humans. It'll take a while to confirm all that. Tracking and confirming the origin of SARS took many months.

Jay #44, it doesn't work that way. You can't protect the elderly and infirm if you don't protect society as a whole. A healthy young person contracting the virus isn't going to die, but he's going to bring it home to Grandma, and she might. The only way to prevent that is to prevent the spread of the virus throughout the community. And until there's a treatment or vaccine, the only proven way to do that is shut everything down.

I'm not saying you could ever take the draconian steps taken by China, but those steps worked. China has stopped the spread of the virus. Only 14 new "homegrown" cases yesterday.

Mike Gaynes
60 Posted 12/03/2020 at 15:40:03
A second NBA star has just been diagnosed with the virus. I think basketball is going to be shut down for the rest of the season. College and professional.
Liam Reilly
61 Posted 12/03/2020 at 15:40:42
Chelsea have just called off training because of a scare apparently and another Premier League Club is also reporting players with symptoms.

Need to postpone the season for a month and if its not controlled by then, it needs to be declared void.

So Liverpool wont get to play in Europe as Premier League Champions; well neither did Everton in '85. Karma.

Tony Abrahams
62 Posted 12/03/2020 at 15:49:41
Mike @60, that's my biggest concern, mate. We are all big enough to look after ourselves, but it's the fear of losing others, people who mean everything to us, that's why I'm on the side of common-sense for once in my life.

An afterthought is that I'm convinced playing the Merseyside derby behind closed doors could actually bring up a lot of problems, so I'd sooner see the game cancelled until a later date; that's if common-sense prevails anyway.

Mike Gaynes
63 Posted 12/03/2020 at 15:56:39
Jamie #48, I would remind you that the guy in the Oval Office just this week called the virus threat a "hoax" and his favorite media mouthpiece just yesterday called it a “fraud” by the deep state to spread panic, manipulate the economy and suppress dissent.

Definitely nuts, bonkers, three bricks shy of a load... but mainstream in this insane administration.

Daniel A Johnson
64 Posted 12/03/2020 at 15:57:48
Australian Grand Prix called off...……….feel sorry for people who paid money to travel to Oz only for it to be cancelled a few days before.
Michael Lynch
65 Posted 12/03/2020 at 16:00:05
There's not much logic to any of these measures really. What's the point of cancelling events with large crowds if you don't shut down the Tube in London? I think it's something like two million people a day stuffed in those little tin capsules. Same with crowded pubs and supermarkets.

Just drove past my local Tesco Superstore and there were cars queuing to get into every entrance, it's like Christmas multiplied by three. If we're going to try to slow down the spread of this virus, just making a few token gestures like banning the handshake of shite before every game is going to make zero difference.

Tom Bowers
66 Posted 12/03/2020 at 16:07:34
It's a huge mess with all sports and events that people attend in large numbers but it has to take second place to people's health.

There will of course be financial suffering by all the people who rely on these events to make a living not just the participants themselves.

Whilst nobody wants to press the panic button I think that many sports should be suspended for the time being including football.

It can be along time before any solution is found so let's all be safe.

I for one would prefer the derby match not to be played at all.

Watching these games in empty stadiums on TV is a bust.

By the way can anyone tell Klopp why Atletico played that way?
What a jerk!!!

Gerry Morrison
67 Posted 12/03/2020 at 16:11:10
Surely the South Korean response is the way to go: test everyone, find out who has the virus and then isolate them. Hardly anybody has been tested in the US or in the UK. We don't know how many people are infected. It is test kits that should be the priority.

Oh, I agree, cancel the Premier League season. Let the RS try again next year.

Dave Evans
68 Posted 12/03/2020 at 16:22:02
Only two ways to stop a virus spread once it's within the populations. Either develop a vaccine or allow people to develop immunity by direct exposure.

Lock downs of populations and shut down of sporting events help slow the spread so help for the vulnerable can be targeted but after the lock down/shut out period the virus is still there. Government scientists know this.

A virus is smaller than the wavelength of light. It can get about. So, for Monday, I'll be the one in the Army grade respirator. Or maybe I'll just wash my hands.

Mike Connolly
69 Posted 12/03/2020 at 16:32:51
Anyone on this site that thinks we should play behind close doors... think again. It's our home form that has us away from the relegation area. So, when Liverpool come to Goodison, it will be on equal terms fan-wise. We lose the advantage and, by God, we need it at home. Because, away from home, we are pure shite.

And I bet we will be the first Premier League team to play behind close doors... and it will probably be scraped the next week. Two options: carry on to the end of the season or end the season now. And to show I'm not bitter: if scraped, give the title to Liverpool. It would be unfair for Leeds, but we have had our disappointments – twice denied the European Cup, which we could have won.

John Pierce
70 Posted 12/03/2020 at 16:51:58
Time for a ‘mail-in' election, folks, come November.

Biden and Sanders debating in two clear Perspex boxes like they're David Blaine.

Overnight, it's just gone cray cray here.

Tony Abrahams
71 Posted 12/03/2020 at 17:01:44
The derby is on, no evidence to suggest that large crowds is part of the problem?
Michael Lynch
72 Posted 12/03/2020 at 17:13:24
It seems that our reaction to the virus is to advise over-70s not to go on cruises. I mean, no shit, Sherlock. Fucking hell, the rest of the world is closing schools and stopping large-scale events, but we clearly know something they don't.
Tony Abrahams
73 Posted 12/03/2020 at 17:18:31
It's absolutely staggering, Michael, because it appears that they are not looking at the countries where this virus has been at its most strongest, to learn anything.

Maybe I'm thick, but that's what these measures seem to me, absolutely stupid, and the only thing it's going to guarantee is that things are going to get a whole lot worse.

Mike Connolly
74 Posted 12/03/2020 at 17:24:38
Tony 72, Hope you're right. As for the over-70s, let them make their own mind up. I'm sure ,if they are not up to going the game, they wont go. I'm sure Kenwright will be there...
John McFarlane Snr
75 Posted 12/03/2020 at 17:28:41
Hi Brent [47],

It's not me laughing in the 'Face of adversity,' it's more a case of 'Cocking a Snook' at the inevitability. Disregarding the lightheartedness of my posts, I consider the subject a very serious matter, and if being denied my matchday experience is the worst-case scenario, I'm quite prepared to forego the so-called 'pleasure' in the interests of the many.

Brian Williams
76 Posted 12/03/2020 at 17:34:12
If you listen to the reasoning behind the steps being taken, it makes good sense. The scientists are well experienced in what needs to be done and more importantly WHEN.

The chief medical officer has explained the thinking behind not banning big outdoor sporting events, among a lot of other things, and if you didn't see it, it's quite easy to believe there's not enough being done.

The thinking behind it all isn't exactly obvious and without hearing it some will not understand and thus come to the wrong conclusion. Things will get worse, they know and admit that, but the plans are to lessen the effect.

Mike Gaynes
77 Posted 12/03/2020 at 17:39:07
John P #71, I'd say we passed "cray cray" a couple of years ago!
Brent Stephens
78 Posted 12/03/2020 at 17:42:24
Brian "The scientists are well experienced in what needs to be done and more importantly WHEN. The chief medical officer has explained the thinking behind not banning big outdoor sporting events, among a lot of other things... Things will get worse, they know and admit that, but the plans are to lessen the effect".

"Flattening and delaying the peak" seems to be a big part of this. If you have too many people being hospitalised over a short period of time, hospitals will be overwhelmed. And delaying the peak a month or two gets us out of winter when hospitals will be less busy anyway.

Mike Gaynes
79 Posted 12/03/2020 at 17:49:57
Brent #79, that's huge. There's a widely published diagram showing that exact strategy -- "flattening" may lengthen the duration of the pandemic, but it'll protect against the catastrophic possibility of the health care system collapsing as it did in Wuhan.

Brian #77, to a certain extent, yes, but there is some guesswork involved as well. Relatively few scientists have a great deal of experience with something this extensive. Viruses like SARS, MERS, Ebola etc impact a few thousand patients at a time. This crisis is exponentially larger.

Brian Williams
80 Posted 12/03/2020 at 17:55:05
Agreed, Mike, but they use all the information at their disposal to model the likely stages and, although there's no cast-iron guarantee, they know enough to be able to say what is very very likely to happen.

After watching the Prime Minister's press conference, I, for one, feel like they know what they're doing. It may be different from what other countries are doing but the explanations behind the differences made sense to me.

Martin Mason
81 Posted 12/03/2020 at 18:06:22
Seems crazy to me, transmission is 100% localised and the odds of you standing in the zone around an infected individual is tiny. I can't see how events with big crowds can be risky.
Brent Stephens
82 Posted 12/03/2020 at 18:15:59
Martin, if the virus is on your hands, then you can leave it on a surface that somebody else touches later.
John Pierce
83 Posted 12/03/2020 at 18:16:33
Mike, I've always been behind the curve. Life choice.
Martin Mason
84 Posted 12/03/2020 at 18:21:39
Brent, but isn't that still very localised? The key thing is that they have the right data on how and where it transmits. I really doubt that they do... otherwise, they would do the same things. I trust what the UK does and that doesn't mean stopping sports events yet.
John G Davies
85 Posted 12/03/2020 at 18:22:23

If you listen to the reasoning behind the steps being taken, it makes good sense. The scientists are well experienced in what needs to be done and, more importantly, wren.

Brian W.

The scientists in the majority of countries affected, Scotland, Ireland included, disagree with the scientists advising Boris and his cronies.

John G Davies
86 Posted 12/03/2020 at 18:26:58
The government have allocated a stronger disinfectant to be used in London than is used in the rest of the country.

Selective prioritising?

Brent Stephens
87 Posted 12/03/2020 at 18:28:51
Martin, I was on the tube from the Chelsea game, touched the train handrail, picked up the virus, got off at Euston and paid for a pasty, passing on the virus to the shop assistant who passed it to the next customer and, through a further series of steps, you are now infected.
Patrick McFarlane
88 Posted 12/03/2020 at 18:30:33
It looks like the Government has decided to leave it up to the individual to monitor, protect and choose how to behave in the current health crisis.

Imagine you are a healthy young person, and a football fanatic, but you live with an elderly or sick relative – do you stay at home and give the game a miss? Or do you go the match and risk the health of the relative?

Likewise if you happen to support the other team but your job is a low-paid carer, do you give up on the opportuntity to witness potential footballing history or do you put the lives of those you care for at risk?

Unfortunately, not every person will make the altruistic call and that's why all games should be suspended, because football – much more than other leisure pursuit – is like a drug and rationality goes out the window, even for the most knowledgeable and intelligent person.

I'm not advocating the total shut-down of all society but, when things are of no great importance in the grand scheme of things, surely the authorities – whether that be the Government or the sports administrators – can make a call that's good for the health of the whole country?

Rob Halligan
89 Posted 12/03/2020 at 18:30:37
Surely if all clubs gave out a pair of surgical gloves to everyone entering stadiums, this would help reduce the virus being passed on?

I don't know how much it would cost, for example, Everton on Monday night, to purchase all these gloves, but wouldn't it be better to spend a few thousand pounds on these gloves, rather than miss out on whatever our total match income is?

John Keating
90 Posted 12/03/2020 at 18:46:51

Not that I support anything that Nicola Sturgeon says or does; however, she has announced all gatherings over 500 people will be cancelled from the beginning of next week.

It has nothing to do with passing of the virus from person to person. It is purely due to the fact that such gatherings are required to have a certain number of services such as police, medical staff etc who can be utilised better at other places at this time.

Martin Mason
91 Posted 12/03/2020 at 18:59:59
John, has it really got to be that bad that we could be short of those services? My own feelings are that normal unrestricted services should be maintained for as long as possible.

I don't like to see government restricting how we live our lives and, in the end, it will peak and die. We can stop it in a couple of weeks but I believe that makes a second wave all but certain.

Cases in China are plummeting and they will eventually in the UK without restrictions. The death rate is very low and mainly people who would have died the next time they caught flu. The death rates are tiny compared with a typical winter's flu (for example, 70,000 is not unusual in the USA alone).

Jim Bennings
92 Posted 12/03/2020 at 19:05:42
Everyone should stay safe.

Right now, I couldn't give a fuck if we re-signed Brett Angell, gave Niasse a 10-year contract or anything.

The paramount of people's safety and Everton fans should boycott that match on Monday night, how on gods earth can all leagues across Europe be suspended yet we carry on??

Alan McGuffog
93 Posted 12/03/2020 at 19:06:14
All gatherings over 500 people to be banned in Scotland. Most football north of the border shan't be affected then.
Keith Harrison
94 Posted 12/03/2020 at 19:16:53
I see where you are going with this, Rob. You'll be wanting to wear surgical stockings next, or in your case, fishnets, and a gimp mask. 😁😁😁

Interesting point by Phil Roberts (40), as announced a Force Majeure on Tuesday. This has ensured my non- canceable hotel bill in Italy will be refunded in full. We were due to fly out tomorrow to watch England win the 6 nations this weekend, but the match has been postponed.

The Premier League, however us a different situation with so many games. Can't postpone all them. Let us batter them on Monday – I can go the game as Italy is cancelled – and then cancel the season. The Reds can attend counselling with all those unfortunate Wimbledon, Luton, Oxford and Coventry fans whose team never ever played in Europe thanks to the blanket Heysel ban.

Getting confirmation of a full refund from Lufthansa was topped off by Atletico wiping a different virus from Europe.

Forza Evertoni!

Bill Gall
95 Posted 12/03/2020 at 19:19:58
For people that don't realize how quick how quick this virus can spread should ask themselves how come a virus that started in China about 5-6 weeks ago has spread to countries around the world that start with 1 or 2 cases and, within a week, it's in the hundreds across different parts of the country.

For the WHO to class this as a pandemic, it shows not only how serious it is, but how quickly it can spread.

When major sports organizations, eg, the NBA in The States, start closing down their leagues, this shows how serious they consider this virus is.

I am not in favour of playing behind closed doors after watching a couple of games, as the lack of supporters just takes the excitement from it (a bit like VAR does) but, as this virus picks at random who gets it, it is better to miss a game or more than become seriously ill watching it.

As an Evertonian, I understand that, after watching some of the games lately, we get sick after watching, but I get over it after a couple of days. It's not like catching this virus where you can end up in hospital and be put in quarantine.

We have to hope that the Government takes note of the scientific facts and the scientists are correct with their recommendations, as they are responsible for the people's health and welfare.

Martin Mason
96 Posted 12/03/2020 at 19:23:52
Jim @93,

Absolutely, what many countries are doing now is totally subjective and we are almost certainly correct in not following blindly.

They say that banning gatherings of many people is right yet provide not a shred of evidence. They watch idiots walking around with masks on and say nothing. They perhaps do not understand risk but then again why should medical people and politicians understand risk? They are good at what they do but that doesn't include understanding what risk is.

Brent Stephens
97 Posted 12/03/2020 at 19:29:29
Martin, re risk - that’s why epidemiologists are involved in this.
Patrick McFarlane
98 Posted 12/03/2020 at 19:30:43
Martin #97, I'm sure that those countries that have made different decisions to the UK have their own 'experts' who have come to a different conclusion than that of our own 'experts'. It doesn't make either 'expert' correct, it just means that they have different priorities and have acted accordingly.

It does seem strange that footballing mad countries such as Italy, Spain, Holland and Portugal have decided to halt their leagues but the UK hasn't, could it be a question of financial considerations on the UK's behalf?

Brian Williams
99 Posted 12/03/2020 at 19:31:22
Jim #93.

Because all leagues across Europe haven't been suspended.

Martin Mason
100 Posted 12/03/2020 at 19:36:54
Brent, they have been wrong and big-time wrong with all previous epidemics. To agree with banning events, I'd have to see evidence that a large event caused large infection and I don't believe that it has ever happened. Infection is local, stopping sporting events is a solution to mass infection and we have none.
Mike Gaynes
101 Posted 12/03/2020 at 19:46:05
Martin #92/97, are you kidding with this?

"Cases in China are plummeting and they will eventually in the UK without restrictions."

Do you know WHY cases in China are plummeting? Because they basically locked down 60 million people at the source! They shut off mass transit, closed the airports and highways, closed all businesses except food markets and pharmacies, and ordered tens of millions of people not to walk out their doors. And they are STILL locked down, my family included.

"Without restrictions" this virus could have raced through hundreds of millions of people like a wildfire. It was spreading that fast. And in Wuhan it has devastated the economy and the normal social fabric in ways that will take a long time to recover from -- along with killing several thousand people, directly and indirectly.

You want proof of the consequences of large gatherings when this virus is on the loose? What happened in Wuhan in the last two weeks of January should be all the proof you ever need.

Geez, mate.

Brent Stephens
102 Posted 12/03/2020 at 19:48:30
Martin, as Patrick above says, they are also considering the impact of any policy action on the economy. Chief Scientific Adviser said as such today. It's a question of balancing sometimes competing demands and logics. There's the medical side, the epidemiology, the economics, the social and cultural factors.

Close schools but you then have to consider who minds the kids; if grandparents mind them, they're at higher risk; kids will find a way out of the home in time; if parents stay off work to child mind, they lose money, the company might not be able to cope without them etc etc etc.

Bill Gall
103 Posted 12/03/2020 at 19:51:02
Just watching Pro Darts League from the Echo Arena in Liverpool. No crowd restrictions there, looks like a full house,
Oliver Molloy
104 Posted 12/03/2020 at 19:51:20
Heard a sports commentator on Irish radio today saying it was nailed on the Euros 2020 will be postponed to 2021.

Uefa meet on Tuesday 17 March.

Patrick McFarlane
105 Posted 12/03/2020 at 19:52:45
John G #104 My cynical side believes that it might suit Boris and company to have this crisis last for a longer period than is necessary so that in June they can quietly withdraw from EU negotiations due to a lack of progress but that's just my cynical side talking
Mike Gaynes
106 Posted 12/03/2020 at 19:55:19
John G #90 and Alan #94, thanks for the laughs.
Dave Evans
107 Posted 12/03/2020 at 19:55:45
The virus can only be stopped by the majority of the population building up immunity. This can only happen with a vaccine or people recovering from infection.

All the different social measures countries around the world are taking will not get rid of the virus. They are about delaying the rates of infection.

Anguish is cranking up hourly and people are feeling "something must be done". There is pressure for the stopping of football matches, including the game on Monday. But the banning of football matches is only a contribution to the delay, not the eradication of the virus.

I look on the bright side. If the derby is cancelled, I'm not guaranteed of feeling crap on Tuesday morning.

Brent Stephens
108 Posted 12/03/2020 at 19:56:30
Patrick, and if the economy tanks through Brexit, here’s a ready-made excuse.
Jim Bennings
109 Posted 12/03/2020 at 20:00:40
Boris Johnson spent nearly an hour bollocking on just to eventually tell people to wash their hands, fat lot oh good if some twat sneezes on your head?

Absolute joke!

How can anything carry on as normal with the sheer mass panic?

Let's be honest, no clubs can expect season ticket sales at this time of year when most are recruited because none of us knows how safe we will be going amongst mass gatherings even in August?

People panic and that stops people doing things.

Brent Stephens
110 Posted 12/03/2020 at 20:10:19
I couldn’t possibly comment, John!
Mike Gaynes
111 Posted 12/03/2020 at 20:13:42
Dave #109, there is great value in delaying the spread of the virus. As Brent #78 mentioned, it's called flattening the curve.

If everybody gets sick at once, the healthcare system is overwhelmed and more people die because they can't get medical care. Slowing the contagion, even if you can't stop it, improves the chances there will be enough hospital beds for people who really need them.

Chris Williams
112 Posted 12/03/2020 at 20:23:35
Brent @110

My views exactly. Except I might say WHEN the economy tanks. That Budget yesterday was a recession Budget. They certainly can't afford another hit to the economy after this. It's doing a good job of tanking now.

Only my opinion, of course.

Dave Evans
113 Posted 12/03/2020 at 20:24:39
Mike 114,

Agreed. Delay is important, as I mentioned briefly (#68).

Brent Stephens
114 Posted 12/03/2020 at 20:32:30
Chris, the irony of the budget was that with debt at 75% (?) of GDP, austerity is forgotten and it's spend, spend, spend. In 2010, Osborne told us that a debt of just over 60% of GDP was unsustainable. But despite 10 years of shrinking the state (the real agenda), debt went to 85% of GDP (and the debt was forgotten with deficit being the narrative).
Chris Williams
115 Posted 12/03/2020 at 20:43:23
Brent, this could become another Trump scenario!

But don't start me on Osborne.

Steven Astley
116 Posted 12/03/2020 at 20:57:18
It could be worse. Jeremy Corbyn could be Prime Minister with Jonathan Ashworth as HM and then flanked by Diane Abbott to laugh (or cry) at.
Gavin Johnson
117 Posted 12/03/2020 at 21:02:41
Steven #119, let's not make things political on a football forum. You shouldn't assume people's political bias on here, Steven. Barring Diane Abbott, I'd much prefer Corbyn and Ashworth than Boris who is a total clown and hasn't done anything today, despite saying there's probably 10.000 people infected.
Jamie Crowley
118 Posted 12/03/2020 at 21:04:50
Well, the NCAA Tournament just got cancelled - not suspended just flat cancelled - here.

The golf tournament literally just across the street from me, the TPC Players Championship, will go ahead with no gallery admitted tomorrow through Sunday.

The NHL, NBA, MLB, and anything basically involving sport is cancelled.

Is there honestly any way they'll have Premier League games in two days time? I'd be stunned.

Rob Young
119 Posted 12/03/2020 at 21:09:03
Surely Leicester City can't play this weekend. Arsenal wouldn't want to play, Chelsea? Hoping they postpone for now.

I got a ticket for Monday, my wife thinks I'm nuts for not saying yet I won't go. Head says no, heart says yes. I must be daft indeed.

Steven Astley
120 Posted 12/03/2020 at 21:10:16
Gavin, you advise against politics on a football forum but continue to make your own political points. There are far more political comments before mine, if you scroll up.
John Pierce
121 Posted 12/03/2020 at 21:22:57
It's dead simple. the individual versus the community.

Every public gathering requires policing, medical, and emergency responders to be in attendance. Whilst we might not get the virus watching the game, you are removing important resources away from people who need it or might require urgent attention in a time of grave international importance.

We are all part of a bigger thing, time for us to act like it. Anyone who thinks the games should go ahead, even behind closed doors, is selfish and is fundamentally misunderstanding the situation.

To not ban events right now is selfish and irresponsible, the government should hang their heads.

Tom Bowers
122 Posted 12/03/2020 at 21:23:39
What's with all the stupid talk about politics.

This is all down to saving people's lives and the medical experts everywhere are basically calling the shots.

Let them do their jobs as we, the masses depend on what they do.

Trump, Johnson, Trudeau and the others are just following the best criteria for stopping the spread.

Steven Astley
123 Posted 12/03/2020 at 21:26:43
Exactly Tom 👍🏻
Jim Bennings
124 Posted 12/03/2020 at 21:31:18

My advice, don't go.

I'm not going, it will be the first derby I've missed in 22 years but I'm not even considering putting myself or relatives at such a risk over a game of football.

Avoiding crowds of people will limit my chances of contracting this so I'm sorry to say it's a sacrifice I can out of choice make.

Other fans should put two fingers up to the FA, Uefa, the government and boycot it too.

John Pierce
125 Posted 12/03/2020 at 21:41:18
Mass gatherings typically slow road access, increase volume and potential for accidents. Imagine if anyone was denied, or received delayed treatment because we allowed games to be played? How bad is it getting out of Goodison Park?

It is a case of managing resource to have the greatest support and impact to those affected. The Premier League have confirmed only moments ago the slate for this weekend will go ahead unabated. Shocking.

Steven Astley
126 Posted 12/03/2020 at 21:42:00
Jim, what is the need to put fingers up to anyone? There is a clear timeline of events that have been set out by the CMO today that need to be adhered to.

Whilst I agree that attending on Monday isn't worth the risk, just because the CMO, PM or anyone else haven't yet come out and said ban this event, stop that etc, doesn't mean that carefully planned action isn't already being implemented.

Mike Gaynes
127 Posted 12/03/2020 at 21:45:59
Jamie #121, what the hell are we going to do with ourselves?
Jim Bennings
128 Posted 12/03/2020 at 21:46:04

It feels like the government are too slow to act though.

The clear example was the invitation of 3,000 Madrid fans from their city that has suspended games to avoid the spread, yet they are allowed to come into the town centre, drink in bars (out of glasses that are reused) and share close proximity, thus them transmitting and also contracting themselves while here).

It was a disgrace that the government didn't, and have yet to, intervene.

Kieran Kinsella
129 Posted 12/03/2020 at 21:51:27
The Cardiff, Nantes, Sala lawsuit showed how crass people are where money is involved.

If the league is cancelled, do we call it as it is? Or start over? Either way, I imagine we will see lawsuits from teams relegated or not promoted due to an incomplete season.

Steven Astley
130 Posted 12/03/2020 at 21:52:48
Jim, I'm not up to speed with what influence the Government would have had on on a Uefa commitment, but I imagine Liverpool would have dug their heels in regardless, as that is just Liverpool, lacking in 'class'.

The reaction since their exit from the competition has been pathetic across the board. Jurgen Klopp cannot take losing. I even heard the weather and conditions to blame by one pundit this morning.

Patrick McFarlane
131 Posted 12/03/2020 at 22:06:53
Premier League Statement:

Following the latest update from Government issued this afternoon, all Premier League matches will go ahead as scheduled this weekend.

While the Prime Minister advised that all sporting events should take place as normal for now, he also indicated that Government is considering banning major public events, like sporting fixtures.

We are therefore continuing to work closely with our clubs, Government, The FA, EFL and other relevant stakeholders to ensure appropriate contingency plans are in place as and when circumstances change.

The welfare of players, staff and supporters is of paramount importance and we will continue to follow Public Health England guidelines thoroughly.

We will keep everyone updated as appropriate.

John G Davies
132 Posted 12/03/2020 at 22:17:53
"The PM or anyone else haven't yet come out and said ban this event, stop that etc. doesn't mean that carefully planned action isn't already being implemented."

Quite right, Steven. The Prime Minister informed the public on the BBC News to wash your hands whilst singing the Happy Birthday song twice.

If that's not carefully planned advice, what is?

Kunal Desai
133 Posted 12/03/2020 at 22:28:06
Arteta has now tested positive for coronavirus. Just fucking suspend the league.
Brian Williams
134 Posted 12/03/2020 at 22:28:58
He said a lot more than that, John.
Jay Woods
135 Posted 12/03/2020 at 22:30:48
I am convinced the government wants it to spread, for whatever their end goal is. Allowing all those fans from Madrid in was an act of criminal negligence if not wilful sabotage... you see the same with the bizarre decision to carry on with schooling and sports events, despite the calamity unfolding in Italy and elsewhere.

I'm trapped in Latvia so I couldn't attend anyway, but I would implore as many of you as possible to avoid the derby. Football is trifling compared to your health.

John Pierce
136 Posted 12/03/2020 at 22:33:34
Mike, invest in Neonatal products and services. Next year will be a busy one. #newboomers
John Pierce
137 Posted 12/03/2020 at 22:34:51
It would appear Johnson has washed his hands of the whole thing...
Bill Gall
138 Posted 12/03/2020 at 22:48:01
Steven #133,

Regarding Klopp, I hear he stated he didn't understand why A. Madrid would play that way. Now I may be nearly 80 and I sometimes have some loss of memory but didn't Madrid win last night, or were they supposed to play a style so that Liverpool could win?

On the virus, it's just been announced that Disney are closing its theme park in California, and anyone who has been to this one or the one in Florida will know that these parks take in more a day for parking fees than most Premier League teams take in a home game.
So they are definitely taking it seriously and I hope the British Government take this really seriously.

Bill Gall
139 Posted 12/03/2020 at 23:16:03
John #140,

It doesn't matter what political party you're from, but the general public need confidence and reassurance from the top, and a number of leaders are failing to react to something that is harmful to the general public. A crisis will show either poor or great leadership.

Bob Parrington
140 Posted 12/03/2020 at 00:01:13
I received a 38-page report yesterday on the spread of the virus in various countries. It was issued by a data analyst.

The major out-take is that the hard decisions eventually made in China, and a few close-by countries who followed the example, has stopped the exponential increases in infection cases that are seemingly occurring already. This is in stark contrast to the likes of Belgium, which appears worse than even Italy with its rate of increase.

The main recommendation is to Governments – act fast on social distancing for the best possible containment.

BTW, I'm only the messenger. So don't shoot me.

Lloyd Brodrick
141 Posted 13/03/2020 at 01:45:38
The exponential increase measure is good as an indicator of which nations have really started to slow the spread. It's the rate at which the number of infections doubles. UK doubles every 4 days. Italy doubles every 4 days, France 3, Spain 2 etc. China went from 2 to 31days due to strict lockdown.

The problem however is that is only confirmed 'Tested' cases and we don't really know how many are infected. The UK have about 600 confirmed but suggested today 10,000. Italy were reporting around 12,000 but with 1000 deaths and a mortality rate of 1% they must have 100,000 infected which will double in 4 days.
Their lockdown measures are hoping to slow this.

The UK are saying you cannot contain it, you slow it and allow a controlled spread to build 'herd immunity'. It's interesting and differs from others. In a way, China have only put the genie back in the bottle. What are they going to do? They are holding the lid on. That model has to wait until those infected have either recovered or died and a vaccine is ready; otherwise, when they lift the lockdown, the virus will invade again attacking an unexposed population.

The UK will not be testing all and may never know how many cases we get. If you have symptoms, you are to self-isolate but nobody is counting the mild cases.

Italy, as we know, have gone for strict lockdown, whilst France have gone for self-isolating the vulnerable population; three different models.

It's become a global experiment, from which we will learn.

Jim Bennings
142 Posted 13/03/2020 at 07:00:36
Games are expected to be called off at 10:30 am today after Mikel Arteta confirmed with having coronavirus.
Eddie Dunn
143 Posted 13/03/2020 at 07:56:51
Hudson-Odoi is now reported to have it; lots of clubs will have players under observation who have mingled with fellow pros, so expect the derby to be called-off. I fully expect that the whole League programme will be suspended.

On another note, Man City's European ban might not be such a punishment.

Michael Lynch
144 Posted 13/03/2020 at 08:30:17
I would guess that the FA will have no choice now but to postpone all games for a 14-day minimum period. They can't wait for the inevitable increase in players testing positive, they have to act now.

Derek Knox
145 Posted 13/03/2020 at 08:36:48
Bob @ 143, because it's a relatively unknown virus, they are only just learning about its behaviour, how it's spread, why some people seem to resist, while others may not actually suffer, but can act as carriers.

Excuse my skepticism but any 'new or previously unknown virus' always triggers the question: How has it manifested itself (?) or Has it been a bio-experiment that has somehow gone out of control!

Like AIDS, which had never been encountered before, where did it emanate from? I know viruses can 'mutate' but, from what I can gather this, bears little or no resemblance to any known virus.

Do-de-do-de...… we are now entering the Twilight Zone!

Bill Watson
146 Posted 13/03/2020 at 09:59:05
The club has sent everyone home to self-isolate. Monday's game will almost certainly be called off.
Geoff Williams
147 Posted 13/03/2020 at 15:18:23
Three weeks of no income will see the demise of many Football League clubs through bankruptcy. The face of English football will be so different come September.
Derek Knox
148 Posted 14/03/2020 at 10:50:43
Geoff @ 147, yes I agree there, it is unfortunate for those Clubs at the lower end of the Football Spectrum to suffer due to no fault of their own making. It also highlights the disparity between the Top and the Bottom.

I have always admired those fans who have loyally supported the less fashionable teams because it is their local side. Knowing that the chance of ever reaching the Top Table is not impossible but nevertheless highly unlikely.

I believe that, when this virus has subsided, that the Top Clubs along with the FA should provide some sort of recompense for those Clubs who do fall into the unfortunate category of Bankruptcy.

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