Newcastle ban players from shaking hands amid the fear of coronavirus

Newcastle BAN players and staff from shaking hands with each other amid coronavirus fears

  • Newcastle have banned their players from shaking hands amid coronavirus fears
  • Players and staff shake hands at the training ground every morning in a tradition
  • But on the advice of a doctor, Steve Bruce said that ritual had now been stopped
  • Premier League say there are currently no plans to scrap pre-match hand shakes

Newcastle have banned their players from shaking hands with each other amid the fear of coronavirus.

The Magpies have long since had a training-ground tradition whereby players and staff greet one another with a handshake every morning.

But Steve Bruce revealed: ‘We have a ritual where we shake hands every morning. We’ve stopped that on the advice of the doctor.

Newcastle have banned players from shaking hands with each other amid coronavirus fears

Players and staff greet one another with a handshake every morning at the training ground

‘We have a superb doctor here and he’ll keep us informed. We’re glued to the TV and let us hope it doesn’t get any worse in this country.’

Newcastle have recent experience of trying to contain a virus after an outbreak of a bug over Christmas.

‘In confined areas – there was a time over Christmas – when there was a virus knocking around and you have to be careful. We’re mindful of a bug sweeping through.

‘We had it at Christmas where four or five were ill, and you just have to stay at home.’

The Premier League told Sportsmail on Friday that there are currently no plans to scrap or change the pre-match process of both teams shaking hands before kick-off.

Clubs are also displaying advice to staff and supporters around stadiums, which is to self-isolate if they are experiencing any symptoms.

Newcastle also had to try and contain a virus after an outbreak of a bug over Christmas


Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admitted he is ‘worried’ about being drawn against Inter Milan in the Europa League with Italy at the centre of Europe’s coronavirus crisis.

Inter were forced to play the second leg of their tie at home to Bulgarian side Ludogorets on Thursday night at an empty San Siro following an alarming increase in the number of coronavirus cases in northern Italy.

Inter will also face Juventus behind closed doors in their Serie A clash in Turin on Sunday. 

Other opponents in countries around Europe could also pose a health hazard for United and manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admitted that it is impossible to ignore the global threat. 

‘I think the whole world has to think differently and be aware of the virus,’ said Solskjaer. ‘I think we’ll definitely look at things. You can see what happens in Italy with the games and I think it’s a worry for everyone. We’ve got to take the precautions we need to.’

Spanish giants Valencia  have also cancelled all ‘non-sporting first team activities’ including press conferences around this weekend’s game at Mestalla in the wake of the outbreak.

By Chris Wheeler

Meanwhile, Bruce is promising a change of system – reverting to four at the back – after two successive defeats and a run of one win in nine matches.

‘It (changing formation) is something we’ve worked on,’ said Bruce. ‘It is glaringly obvious we don’t score enough.

‘Very early on in the season, it was evident they were quite comfortable in what they had done before (under Rafa Benitez).

‘If changing is a new era, then we will try. We were a threat on the counter attack but that has waned over the past few weeks. So you either have to change system or personnel.’ 



In doubt 

The scale of the outbreak in Japan saw senior International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound describe the disease as ‘the new war’ threatening Tokyo 2020 and he warned the Games may have to be cancelled if the virus was still around by May.

Olympic organisers have told athletes to train as normal with no decision made on cancellation

The Japanese government later insisted Pound’s comments were not the IOC’s official stance but there remains doubts over whether the summer showcase can still go ahead with health concerns.

Athletes have been told to keep training and the plan remains to hold the Games in Japan as planned but training for around 80,000 volunteers has been delayed for at least two months- it was due to begin on February 22.



World Athletics Indoor Championships (March 13-15 in Nanjing) off until 2021.

The World Athletics Indoor Championships in Nanjing, China, has been postponed due to concerns over the danger of the coronavirus and its ability to spread among competitors

North Korea cancels Pyongyang Marathon scheduled for April after imposing a border lockdown due to the level of outbreak in South Korea.

Seoul Marathon cancelled in a bid to protect runners following the mass outbreak in South Korea.

In doubt

A mixed relay Olympic triathlon qualification event scheduled for Chengdu, China in May moved to Valencia. Going ahead pending an outbreak in Spain.



German Open (March 3-8), Vietnam Open (March 24-29) and Polish Open (March 26-29), all Olympic qualifying events, are cancelled due to ‘strict health protection’.



Olympic boxing qualifiers to be staged in Wuhan cancelled by the International Olympic Committee. Now been relocated to occur in Amman from March 3-11

IBF title fight between Daniele Scardina and Andrew Francillette in Milan on February 28 postponed by Matchroom due to restrictions in Italy following the outbreak

Japanese boxing commission cancels all fight cards scheduled for March on government advice to suspend all pending sporting fixtures. They will not be rescheduled.

Boxing qualifiers set for Wuhan were called off by the International Olympic Committee



All domestic fixtures at all levels are postponed by the Chinese Football Association as the season is pushed back due to the scale of the outbreak in China.

Asian Champions League matches involving Guangzhou Evergrande, Shanghai Shenhua and Shanghai SIPG are postponed until April.

The start of the Korean K-League season is postponed. The four teams in the AFC Champions League playing their matches behind closed doors.

Inter Milan will play their European tie against Ludogorets behind closed doors at the San Siro

Ludogorets players were taking no chances after the coronavirus outbreak in northern Italy

Japan’s J-League postpones all domestic games until the middle of March.

Inter Milan’s game against Sampdoria was one of four Serie A games cancelled last weekend due to affected regions in Italy leading to advice from the prime minister to call off sporting events. 


The home leg of the Chinese women’s national team’s Olympic qualification play-off against South Korea set for March is switched to Sydney. The squad are held in quarantine upon their arrival in Australia for January’s qualifying group stage due to fears of virus carriers.

Inter Milan’s Europa League match against Ludogorets on February 27 to be played behind closed doors. Only rights-holders are allowed to attend as media as club look to secure the San Siro. Ludogorets players arrive in Italy wearing face masks.

Serie A announce five matches on February 28-March 1 will be played behind closed doors, including Juventus v Inter Milan in Turin.

Wolves fans who made the trip to Espanyol for their Europa League last-32 second-leg have been urged to ‘travel with caution’ after a number of confirmed cases this week in Barcelona. The game is expected to go ahead without issue. 

Valencia have cancelled all ‘non-sporting first team activities’ including press conferences around this weekend’s game at Mestalla in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. 

Jadon Sancho, Raheem Sterling and their England team-mates are due to face Italy in March

In doubt

England’s friendly against Italy at Wembley in March now in doubt as the FA hold crisis talks following the outbreak in northern Italy.

Israel has warned citizens to avoid all international travel which raises questions whether supporters or players will travel to Scotland for their Euro 2020 play-off match on March 26. 

Growing concerns that some matches at Euro 2020 could be called off if the coronavirus outbreak gets worse between now and the summer. The tournament is set to be multi-city.



Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai on April 19 postponed with no decision over whether it will be reinserted into the 2020 calendar for later in the season.

The Chinese Grand Prix was first to be cancelled and other races could yet follow their lead

In doubt

Australian Grand Prix insists they will go ahead despite an emergency response plan being enacted across the country to deal with the virus. The chief executive of the tourism council says that Victoria cannot afford for the event to be cancelled.

Bahrain Grand Prix still planning to go ahead despite a number of flights from Dubai and the UAE into the country being cancelled this week due to coronavirus fears.

Growing concerns over whether the inaugural Vietnam Grand Prix (scheduled to take place in Hanoi on April 5) will go ahead



The Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific golf championship, slated to take place from February 12-15 in Thailand, was postponed and has been rescheduled for October.

The Honda LPGA Thailand event in Pattaya, Thailand scheduled for February 20-23 along with the HSBC Women’s World Championship in Singapore, scheduled to start on February 27, were both postponed

The PGA Tour Series-China postponed two qualifying tournaments and delayed the start of its 2020 campaign by two months, cutting the number of regular season events down from 14 to 10.

The decision was made to cancel the LPGA Blue Bay tournament in China, with the event at Hainan Island (due to start on March 5) seen as dangerous to players’ health

European Tour postpone Maybank Championship (April 16-19 in Kuala Lumpur) and Volvo China Open (April 23-26 in Shenzhen).


Lorenzo Gagli and Edoardo Molinari withdraw from the Oman Open on medical grounds after Gagli showed symptoms of the virus. He shared a hotel room with Molinari and he also pulled out in a bid to self-isolate.

The Honda LPGA event in Pattaya, Thailand, is among a host of tournaments to be postponed

Edoardo Molinari (left) and Lorenzo Gagli (right) pulled out of the Oman Open following medical advice as Gagli showed symptoms of the virus. The two players shared a hotel room.



The Japan Racing Association reveals that ‘government-sanctioned races’ will go behind closed doors.

In doubt

Cheltenham festival is in doubt as organisers set up a steering group to consider the danger posed by the virus, just 13 days prior to the prestigious Gold Cup event

The Cheltenham Festival is set to go ahead despite travel disruption caused by the coronavirus



Scotland Women’s Six Nations match with Italy on February 23 postponed due to an outbreak in the Milan area.

Ireland’s Six Nations meeting with Italy on March 7 is postponed.

Ospreys and Ulster’s Pro14 trips to play in Italy on February 29 are postponed. Ospreys were due to play Zebre in Parma with Treviso the venue for Ulster’s game against Benetton.

Ireland’s Six Nations encounter with Italy on March 7 has been postponed due to coronavirus

There are now concerns that England’s visit to Italy in the Six Nations could be in serious doubt

The Italian Rugby Federation suspends its National Championship and youth games for February 28-March 1.

Hong Kong Rugby Sevens postponed which is a blow to Olympic preparations for Team GB.  

In doubt

Scottish rugby announce preparations ‘continue as normal’ as they discuss with French rugby whether to proceed with their Six Nations match on March 8 following a second coronavirus death in France.

All of Italy’s remaining Six Nations fixtures – they are due to host England in their final game on March 14 – are in serious doubt given the scale of the outbreak in Italy



The final of an ATP Challenger event in Bergamo, Italy, between Enzo Couacaud and Illya Marchenko of Ukraine is cancelled. Both players received ranking points and prize money for getting to the final. Denied opportunity to play behind closed doors.

China forfeited a Davis Cup tie because men’s team were unable to travel to Romania for the March 6-7 playoff.

WTA event Xi’an Open (set for April 13-19) cancelled due to fears over player safety. WTA announce they are assessing their schedule with a number of events set for China in the second half of the season.

Japan’s Davis Cup team has seen the match with Ecuador next week put behind closed doors

The WTA could still postpone the Kunming Open (pictured left is Zheng Saisai, the 2019 winner) having already called off the Xi’an Open set to take place from April 13 to April 19


Japan’s home Davis Cup tie against Ecuador next week now set to be played behind closed doors.

In doubt

WTA event Kunming Open considered for cancellation after Xi’an Open is called off. It is due to start on April 27.



South Korean baseball league cancels all 50 pre-season game which were slated to take place from March 14-24. The first time since the leagues inception in 1982 that an entire set of exhibition matches are off. 

The first-stage draw for the Table Tennis World Championships, scheduled for South Korea from March 22-29, is postponed.

A beach volleyball tournament, due to be held in Yangzhou from April 22-26, is postponed until after the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

World Short track speed skating championship in Seoul is cancelled.

All 72 pre-season professional baseball games in Japan are to take plkace behind closed doors

The first-stage draw for the Table Tennis World Championships in South Korea is postponed


The Japanese professional baseball league makes the decision to play their 72 pre-season games behind closed doors until March 15. Baseball is among the most popular sports in Japan.  

In doubt

The South Korean baseball league regular season is in doubt ahead of the first round of matches on March 28. An emergency meeting has been called.   

Doubts remain as the Asian weightlifting championships, scheduled for March, are relocated from Kazakhstan to neighbouring Uzbekistan. Still could be postponed.

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