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Premier League considering banning over 70s from matches due to coronavirus

The Premier League could move to ban elderly fans from stadiums as part of contigency plans in response to the growing coronavirus emergency in the UK.

Soccer Football - Premier League - Manchester United v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Old Trafford, Manchester, Britain - February 1, 2020  General view as fans gather during a Munich air disaster memorial outside the stadium before the match  REUTERS/Andrew Y

The Premier League is considering banning over 70s from stadiums in response to coronavirus fears, according to Sky News.

The UK government is set to meet with sports authorities and broadcasters on Monday to discuss coronavirus contingency plans, with the Premier League preparing for the possibility that they will be advised to play games behind doors, reports Sky

"It is understood that the preference in the case of advice that the season be postponed or played behind closed doors would be that it continues without fans permitted inside stadiums,” said Sky News' sports correspondent Martha Kelner.

“That may include advising against, or even a possible ban, on over 70s - the demographic considered to be at highest risk from the spread of COVID-19 - coming inside stadiums.”

The UK had so far recorded 164 cases of COVID-19 at time of writing, with an 88-year-old grandfather with underlying health conditions becoming the second patient to die of the virus on Friday evening.

Serie A and Premier League games could become free to air

So far Italy’s Serie A is the only one of Europe’s top five leagues that has moved to have games played behind closed doors. 

All fixtures in the Italian league will be played in empty stadiums until at least April 3. The situation has prompted Italian sports minister, Vincenzo Spadafora, to urge Serie A to transmit games on free-to-air TV.

Sky reports that, in a similar move, the Premier League would consult with broadcasters about televising more matches if games are forced to be played behind closed doors due to the coronavirus.


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