Updated Mar 5, 2020 - Sports

Premier League bans pre-match handshakes due to coronavirus fears

Photo: Serena Taylor/Newcastle United via Getty Images

Soccer leagues across Europe are reacting differently as the coronavirus spreads, from canceling games to playing in closed-door arenas.

Driving the news: The Premier League has banned the ceremonial pre-match handshake. But following advice from the government, it has not canceled any of the upcoming games yet.

Journalists are being asked about their recent whereabouts prior to a pre-match news conference with Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta, per AP.

  • Five Serie A matches, including the Juventus-Inter Milan game, will be played in empty stadiums, ESPN reports. The preventative measure comes as Italy has the worst coronavirus outbreak in Europe.
  • Switzerland has postponed all games in the top two divisions after a federal order banned events involving more than 1,000 till mid-March.
  • The Spanish league said the match between historic rivals Real Madrid and Barcelona is not suspended, but there is a contingency plan if needed — which could include playing the game in a closed-door stadium, per AP.

The bottom line: The coronavirus' impact is forcing influential soccer leagues to put a pause on major games or block fans from stadiums to view matches, forcing leagues to take a revenue hit, in hopes of preventing the disease from spreading.

Go deeper

More states issue stay-at-home orders as coronavirus crisis escalates

Data: Axios reporting; Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey issued a stay-at-home order on Friday as the novel coronavirus pandemic persists. The order goes into effect Saturday at 5 p.m. and will remain in place through April 30. Missouri Gov. Mike Parson also issued a statewide social distancing order on Friday.

The big picture: In a matter of weeks, the number of states that issued orders nearly quadrupled, affecting almost 300 million Americans.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Apr 3, 2020 - Health

The month coronavirus shook the world

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

It’s already hard to envision the world we lived in one month ago.

Flashback: A WHO report from March 1 shows a total of 7,169 coronavirus cases outside of China, with just seven countries having recorded even a single fatality and the total death toll under 3,000, including China.

Go deeperArrowApr 2, 2020 - World

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta tests positive for coronavirus

Photo: Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Arsenal Football Club has closed its London training center after manager Mikel Arteta tested positive for the coronavirus, the club announced in a statement Thursday.

Why it matters: Premier League games are still proceeding this weekend, but Arsenal noted in its statement that this could soon change. The NBA quickly moved to suspend the rest of its season after Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus.

Go deeperArrowMar 12, 2020 - Sports