Man Utd opponents LASK Linz to lose £1m as clash played behind closed doors

LASK Linz will lose close to £1million through their Europa League match against Manchester United being played behind closed doors.

Thursday's first leg of the last 16 tie will be played without fans of either side present in the Linzer Stadium, to guard against the potential spread of the coronavirus.

LASK President Siegmund Gruber revealed his dismay at having to take the decision, made on the orders of the Austrian Government, which has restricted to 500 the number of people allowed at public events.

"In terms of the whole handling of the situation, I'm not so happy about this, how the Health Office has dealt with it," said Gruber.

"They put the city of Linz under pressure. They limited the numbers of people who will have access to the stadium tomorrow to 500.

"This includes journalists, ball boys and the staff. Why 500? I don't understand this either. In Germany, they say 1,000, so for Austria it's half.

"The Leipzig match, they played in front of their own crowd, with more than 40,000 watching the match, and Frankfurt against Basel will also take place, with their fans.

"So the whole communication, the whole situation, I'm not very happy about that, but that's my personal opinion."

LASK boss Valerien Ismael said: "It's the match of the century that we play, but without our supporters. But the most important thing is the match takes place and we will focus completely on our opponent.

"You still have to prepare the team, of course, and we will play the game and focus on our opponent."

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