Premier League scraps pre-match handshakes due to coronavirus outbreak

The traditional pre-match handshake for Premier League matches has been scrapped for the foreseeable future.

Fears over the coronavirus – with 116 cases now confirmed in the UK – has sparked the decision, with a number of other sports also following suit.

A statement from the Premier League reads: “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.

“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 without shaking their hands.”

Earlier today, Liverpool also confirmed they will not host on-pitch mascots in a bid to prevent the spread of the virus.

Club employees from all Premier League club will also not be travelling to high-risk countries.

The Mirror report that there is a very high chance that games in England’s top-flight will be played behind-closed-doors ‘within weeks’.

Over in Italy, the authorities have decided to do just that, with all Serie A games and major sporting events to be played without supporters until April 3 due to the outbreak of the virus – with over 3000 cases now confirmed in Italy alone.

There are also fears that the upcoming Euro 2020 tournament could be cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak.

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