Coronavirus – What Stoke City chief has said about behind-closed-doors games



Stoke City’s hierarchy is readying itself – just in case – for the unprecedented situation of behind-closed-doors games because of the coronavirus.

The club, like the footballing nation, is waiting to see if a Government/FA directive will be issued for matches to be played without supporters.

Time is running out for Saturday’s game at Reading to be played behind-closed-doors – and next on the list would be next Wednesday’s home fixture against Middlesbrough at the bet365.

The club is conscious of anxiety among supporters and is preparing as best it can for any eventuality.

It is currently looking into streaming options should they be required to ensure fans can at least watch matches from a distance.

The issue of refunds is also being discussed and it remains to be seen, in the event of behind-closed-doors games, whether such issues will be at the discretion of clubs or subject to directives from the authorities.

Asked at Monday’s Fan Forum about the effects of behind-closed-doors games, chief executive Tony Scholes stated: “There were meetings today in London and they determined that for the moment games can continue, so there’s no reason to change plans.

“But, it’s moving at such a pace it’s naive to think things won’t change in a week, two or three and that depends on the advice from public health and there’s a whole range of options it could lead to.

“If it was a behind closed doors game, the ability to stream it would be one way to deal with that situation.”

Some have argued that there is relatively little chance of the coronavirus being passed on at mass outdoor events like football fixtures.

But others argue that it can be passed on by supporters if travelling in confined spaces on trains and tube.





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