The Premier League (and the EFL) have already ditched pre-match handshakes in response to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak that is just starting to sweep across Europe, but they are expecting to have to take additional measures soon, including (probably) closing all doors to stadiums and holding matches only for TV audiences.
The handshake move was largely symbolic (just as the handshakes themselves), but as the BBC reports, the Premier League are one of several sports governing bodies and broadcasters that are meeting today (Monday) as part of government-ordered efforts to “step up” contingency planning for the eventual outbreak that seems inevitable.
Within the Premier League there is apparently “a growing expectation that matches may have to played behind closed doors within the next two weeks, depending on government advice”. That move, which would mirror the response by Serie A in Italy who have been hardest hit so far in Europe, would come with a whole heap of logistical, contractual, financial, not to mention sporting considerations so there’s surely plenty to discuss and figure out just in case — including the famed no-football-on-TV-at-3pm rule.
(Italy are apparently considering suspending the season completely now as the virus continues to spread despite a massive quarantine of the northern regions.)
Sports governing bodies and broadcasters prepare for crisis meeting with DCMS officials tomorrow morning as government steps up preparations for possible staging of sports events behind closed doors in bid to slow spread of coronavirus https://t.co/bKbqj3FrVd— Dan Roan (@danroan) March 8, 2020
In the meantime, practice good and common sense personal hygiene, like washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water, covering your mouth when sneezing, not touching your face and avoiding close contact with others as much as practical or possible (the virus spreads like influenza).