Man Utd legend Gary Neville calls on FA to take action over coronavirus outbreak

Manchester United hero Gary Neville does not believe matches should be played behind closed doors amid the coronavirus outbreak, instead calling for seasons to be put on hold.

Sport across the globe is being disrupted by the deadly virus, which has affected almost 120,000 people worldwide.

All Italian sporting events have been postponed until at least April 3, with the country recording the second-highest amount of cases [10,149] behind China.

A number of Champions League matches are also being played behind closed doors, including Bayern Munich ’s meeting with Chelsea at the Allianz Arena next Wednesday.

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There are now close to 400 confirmed coronavirus cases in the UK, sparking fears that fans will be prevented from attending Premier League games.

But former United defender Neville insists playing matches behind closed doors will hamper clubs who rely on income from supporters to survive.

“I do NOT support matches played behind closed doors,” he posted on Twitter.

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“If it’s necessary to shut down stadiums the associations must find a way of delaying the season and playing the games when it is safe to do so to protect the revenues for clubs that require this income to survive.”

The Premier League have already introduced one measure to combat the coronavirus, scrapping pre-match handshakes between teams until further notice.

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Clubs are also believed to have instructed players not to sign autographs or take selfies with fans because of fears over the spread of the virus.

But according to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, there is “no rationale” in postponing sporting events in Britain because of the outbreak.

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“Based upon the current scientific advice from the Government's medical experts there is no rationale to close or cancel sporting events as things stand,” they said.

“We will remain in regular dialogue with sports governing bodies and broadcasters, ensuring they are in receipt of the most up to date guidance from the health authorities.”

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