Britain is set to unveil a crisis plan for football that will keep all Premier League matches played behind closed doors as the country battles the outbreak of the coronavirus, according to a media report.
That means fans will have to support their teams from home for the rest of the season.
The plan would allow the matches to go on without spectators instead of postponing the current season, the Times of London reported.
The measures will also stop games from being shown in pubs to discourage congregation of people.
Premier League games will still not be broadcast live on Saturday, but all Premier league season-ticket holders and ticket holders for individual games will be able to individually stream the games at home.
The Times said “the plan may be implemented once the number of UK coronavirus cases passes 500”. The country’s case count is currently 456, according to the UK Department of Health and Social Care. Eight have died.
The Premier League already decided to delay a match between Manchester City and Arsenal on Wednesday, after the owner of a Greek team who tested positive for coronavirus met Arsenal players after a Europa League match about two weeks ago.
While the United States-based National Basketball Association has announced it will suspend all games until further notice after a Utah Jazz player tested positive for coronavirus, the Premier League is aiming to conclude the season.
Premier League broadcasting contracts contain large penalties if the season is ended rather than played to the end, the Times said. The league’s clubs have at least nine matches remaining in this season, which concludes in May, not including Champions League and FA Cup games.
League leaders Liverpool are almost certain to win this year’s title, needing only two more wins to end a 30-year drought, but now are likely to lift the league trophy in an almost empty stadium.
Italy’s Serie A has been suspended while French Ligue One and Spanish La Liga games are being played without spectators.
Also on Wednesday, Juventus said their defender Daniele Rugani had tested positive for coronavirus, casting doubt on the Italian side’s Champions League last-16 return leg against Olympique Lyonnais next week.
While he is currently asymptomatic, the team have activated all isolation procedures required by law, including for those who have contact with him.
The measures could mean teammates like superstar Cristiano Ronaldo are also put into quarantine.