Coronavirus: Premier League bans players from shaking hands before matches

The Premier League has banned pre-match fair-play handshakes “until further notice” amid concerns over the spread of the coronavirus.

The announcement comes after a new contingency plan to was delivered to all 20 member clubs yesterday, with the Premier League admitting it may be difficult to complete the season if a club is impacted by the outbreak.

“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,” a statement read.

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

“Club 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 with shaking their hands.”

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Earlier on Thursday, Everton director Sasha Ryazantsev admitted the outbreak is likely to “force” matches to be played behind closed doors this month.

“It would be a forced decision rather than one we would proactively engage in,” Ryazantsev said at the Financial Times Business of Football Summit.

“But the whole situation goes far beyond the world of sport. Of course nobody wants to play behind closed doors and I don’t think it’s inevitable at the moment that it will happen. But we feel it is quite likely it may happen in the coming weeks.”

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