Pep Guardiola says if Manchester City face Newcastle behind closed doors there’s ‘no sense’ in playing it
Pep Guardiola has been talking about how the Coronavirus could impact on English football clubs.
For the time being the government has said business as usual for matches involving Premier League clubs, as well as other major sporting events.
However, the Manchester City boss points to what has happened in other countries and says it looks inevitable that the spread of the Coronavirus will grow in the UK and that extra measures will be taken to help contain it, that will include the football industry.
In other European countries we have seen a mixture of measures taken, including postponing games and playing matches behind closed doors.
Pep Guardiola says that he and Manchester City will support and follow whatever instructions the government gives them, however, he says he sees ‘no sense’ in staging games such as away at Newcastle in the FA Cup or at home to Real Madrid, or indeed any match, if ‘people cannot come to watch us.’
So if it comes down to it and it is a choice of one or the other measure, Pep Guardiola would appear to support postponing matches, rather than playing behind closed doors.
Jurgen Klopp has also been speaking on the subject of measures to possibly take against the spread of Coronavirus and he makes the point that if fans aren’t allowed into stadiums they will then ‘go watch it closely together in rooms [in houses or in pubs!] and I’m not sure which is better in this case.’
As Klopp says, what is worse/more dangerous, tens of thousands of fans gathering together in the open air inside a stadium to watch a match, or gathering together indoors in more confined spaces and watching on TV?
Which of course brings us to the question of whether there is any point at all in stopping people going to matches or postponing them, unless you then take wider action and restrict the movement of people through airports, train stations etc and stop people gathering together in pubs regardless.
There has already been talk of the possibility of extending league seasons and/or postponing the European Championships, to help football deal with the knock-on problems of the Coronavirus.
One thing that definitely shines through here, is that whilst match ticket money may not be the main revenue for clubs these days, fans inside stadiums are essential for the sport. You can bring in all the cash you want from prize money, broadcast revenue and sponsors, but without people inside football stadiums you don’t have a viable product.
Pep Guardiola talking about challenge Coronavirus poses to football, as quoted by BBC Sport:
“Does football work without spectators?
“If the people can’t come, there is no sense [in doing it].
“We will follow what we have to do but I wouldn’t like to do it without the people.
“We are conscious of it because it has happened already in Italy.
“Their league is suspended and in Spain the next two weeks are behind closed doors.
“It is going to happen here.
“The tendency rises at the same level as Italy before and in Spain right now.
“The other issue you have to ask is, is it worse to play football without the spectators?
“We do our job for the people and if the people cannot come to watch us, there is no sense.
“I would not love to play matches in the Premier League or Champions League or the [FA and League] cups without the people.
“But we are going to follow the instructions of the government.”
“The problem with football games is if you are not in the stadiums, then you go watch it closely together in rooms and I’m not sure which is better in this case.
“Whatever will be decided, we will respect, but I don’t know how much sense it will make.
“If people think it will help then we will do it.”
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