By George Stephens • 07 March 2020 • 10:52
Spain’s football authorities are set to meet next week with a view to suspending La Liga or containing crowds due to the coronavirus epidemic in Spain.
Large crowds and congested areas in sporting arenas especially football grounds are under the watchful eye now of the Ministry of Health and Salvador Illa himself the head of the ministry has already ordered that Spanish clubs in the Champions league play behind closed doors.
Valencia will play behind closed doors as they take on Italian club Atalanta and also Getafe’s Europa League match against Inter Milan has been ordered to be played behind closed doors with no fans in attendance.
Football’s top brass in Spain are following the advice from the Health Ministry and plans are in place for a meeting next week to discuss the options of suspending league games totally in Spain whilst the coronavirus risks are in place or ordering the games behind closed doors.
Playing games behind closed doors has a huge financial impact on Clubs as they lose their revenues and TV rights are reduced on behind closed door matches as they are not as appealing to the armchair fan.
Where as a suspension of the leagues especially La Liga whilst delaying the current season in the long run would be more financially viable.
The majority of Spanish clubs have also taken precautions at training grounds with bodily contact such as shaking hands and congratulating one another with ” high fives” ruled out by management and coaches.
Spain currently has nearly 200 cases of the deadly virus including one Spanish football journalist after returning from Italy after reporting from a game.
In regards the Champions League matches the Spanish Health Minister said:”The decision of the authorities is that these matches are to be played behind closed doors,”
Illa also went on to say “a large gathering of fans” needed to be avoided for both matches as Valencia look to overturn a 4-1 first-leg deficit at the Mestalla stadium on March 10. The Spanish government has made the decision to close the match to supporters due to the “large presence of fans” from area of northern Italy most affected by the coronavirus outbreak”
Spanish football fans themselves seem to prefer the option of a suspension, Real Madrid fan Adam Brown told the Euro Weekly News: ” Games behind closed doors are pointless, I understand it from knock out tournaments like the Champions League but not La Liga – Clubs need the revenue and the fans want an atmosphere – I would prefer to wait if I’m honest”
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