5.47am EST 05:47 Newcastle news: Steve Bruce fears it is “pretty inevitable” that Premier League games will be played behind closed doors as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. The authorities in Italy have introduced a ban on mass gatherings which has hit sports events, and Bruce believes it is only a matter of time
Newcastle news: Steve Bruce fears it is “pretty inevitable” that Premier League games will be played behind closed doors as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
The authorities in Italy have introduced a ban on mass gatherings which has hit sports events, and Bruce believes it is only a matter of time before the same happens in the UK.
Speaking at his pre-match press conference on Friday morning, he said: “It’s hard to imagine, isn’t it? But obviously, they’re doing it now in Italy and it’s something we’re probably going to face. We all know football is a way out for everybody, but people’s lives are at stake and we’ve got to go by the authorities. But it looks pretty inevitable that could be on the cards.”
The potential for some respite then, for disillusioned Newcastle fans who remain unhappy with their team’s style of play under Bruce.
Newcastle duo ink new deals: Jonjo Shelvey, 28, and Matt Ritchie, 30, have both signed new three-year contracts which will keep them at the Premier League club until 2023.
Our chief football correspondent writes: David Hytner has penned an interesting comment piece on the furore surrounding Eric Dier’s spirited, fraternal foray into the White Hart Lane stands in the wake of Tottenham’s FA Cup defeat at the hands of Norwich City on Wednesday night.
While no supporters were harmed in the making of this controversy, Dier almost certainly regrets his actions and is apparently resigned to whatever ban he inevitably receives from the Football Association for angrily making his way over 15 rows of seats with intent. His manager, however, has stood by him and urged Tottenham to do the same.
Meanwhile, Dier’s rush of blood to the head has intensified the focus on fan behaviour, specifically the behaviour of those entitled dunderheads who think buying a ticket for a football match entitles them to scream toxic abuse at the players putting on the show. Read on and feel free to add your two cents in the comments section below …
This weekend’s Premier League fixtures
The Manchester derby is probably the pick of the bunch, although the eye is also draw to wobbling Liverpool’s game against Bournemouth at Anfield and Tottenham’s trip to Turf Moor as they attempt to halt a run of four consecutive defeats.
The only manager in football history ever to lose players through injury, José Mourinho has been getting his excuses in early, having told the BBC the club hierarchy must choose between prioritising the weekend’s clash with Burnley or the upcoming Champions League visit to Leipzig.
“In this moment I have to think about what’s next and I have to speak to my club because I think some of these boys to have a chance to fight Tuesday for a Champions League position they just can’t play on Saturday,” he said, somewhat bafflingly.
Coronavirus latest …
The spread of coronavirus means it is likely matches will be played behind closed doors this month, writes Paul MacInnes.
Sasha Ryazantsev, the Everton chief financial officer, said banning fans from games in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus would be a decision imposed on clubs. However, with Italian authorities having taken the decision to play Serie A games behind closed doors until April, the possibility of something similar here is increasing.
“It would be a forced decision rather than one we would proactively engage in,” said Ryazantsev at the FT Business of Football Summit in London. “But the whole situation goes far beyond the world of sport. Nobody wants to play behind closed doors and I don’t think it’s inevitable that it will happen. But we feel it is quite likely it may happen in the coming weeks.”
Something for the weekend …
Welcome to your one-stop shop for all the news and build-up ahead of another weekend’s piping hot football action. With assorted managers scheduled to host press conferences ahead of the latest round of fixtures, we’ll bring you all the news that’s fit to print and almost certainly a whole lot more that isn’t. Don’t touch that dial. Or mouse. Or … em, touchscreen. Or your face. And for the love of humanity, wash your hands!