Ipswich Town could live stream matches for fans if coronavirus forces games to be played behind closed doors
PUBLISHED: 11:43 11 March 2020 | UPDATED: 16:28 11 March 2020
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Ipswich Town Football Club are exploring the potential of streaming matches free of charge should the coronavirus force games to be played behind closed doors.
The Blues are set to take on Bristol Rovers, at the Memorial Stadium, this Saturday. Their next scheduled home game is against Portsmouth the following Saturday.
A club spokesperson told the EADT and Ipswich Star: 'We're taking guidance from the EFL and their instruction at the moment is that it should be business as usual.
'The club has held an internal meeting to discuss the way forward if the situation changes. We have discussed the potential to bring in a mobile sanitiser unit, as was used at Twickenham last weekend, for the game against Portsmouth. We've also looked at the possibility of streaming matches free of charge to supporters should we be instructed to play behind closed doors.
'Like all businesses, an internal e-mail has been sent around with guidelines about best practice regarding hygiene and what the remote working procedure would be for each department if required.'
Several clubs, including Newcastle and West Ham, have banned players shaking hands at the training ground or signing autographs or posing for selfies with supporters as a precautionary measure. It's understood that Ipswich Town players have been instructed to do the same.
In Italy, a hotbed for the virus, several Serie A matches were played behind closed doors at the weekend before a decision was reached on Monday for all sports in the country to be suspended as part of a nationwide lockdown. France, who have reported the second-largest number of cases in Europe, has banned gatherings of more than 1,000 people. In Germany, several high-profile games will take place behind closed doors over the coming days.
In Great Britain, the advice appears to be keep calm and carry on. Speaking on Monday, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: 'At this stage we're not in the territory of cancelling or postponing events. I was at Twickenham (for England v Wales) with the Prime Minister (on Saturday). There was a huge crowd of people there. There is no reason why people should not be going to those events. It is very premature to be talking about things like that.'
Nottingham Forest and Olympiakos owner Evangelos Marinakis has tested positive for coronavirus. The 52-year-old was at the City Ground for Forest's Championship fixture against Millwall last Friday.
Forest, who are scheduled to play Sheffield Wednesday in their next league game on Saturday, have been in contact with the English Football League, who say matches will continue to take place as scheduled while government guidance remains unchanged.
Olympiakos will host Wolves in the Europa League on Thursday, after Uefa rejected Wolves' request for the last-16 first-leg match to be postponed. That game will be played behind closed doors.
Manchester City's scheduled Premier League match with Arsenal tonight has been postponed as a 'precautionary measure', with several Gunners players in self-isolation after meeting Mr Marinakis ahead of a Europa League match with Olympiakos two weeks ago.
Six people with the virus have died in the UK so far, which has a total of 382 cases.