PREMIER LEAGUE clubs face losing more than £100million a month — as the Government gears up for a crunch meeting on the coronavirus.
Prem bosses have told clubs to prepare for the prospect of playing games behind closed doors.
And the Government announced that talks with sports governing bodies, leagues and broadcasters are scheduled for Monday.
They will even discuss the possibility of banning OAPs — deemed at high risk from the deadly virus — from attending events.
Should England follow Italy by playing four rounds of games without fans, ticket refunds and loss of matchday revenue will see clubs lose a combined £25m every weekend wiped out.
Clubs like Manchester United and Arsenal rake in more than £4m from home games — while even the smaller top-flight sides collect a million.
Cancelling matches in Europe and the FA Cup over the coming weeks would add further losses.
French football bosses last night called off today’s Strasbourg v Paris Saint-Germain clash.
An Arsenal spokesperson said: “We’re monitoring the situation and will advise on refunds for supporters as quickly as possible as and when a decision is made by the Government to play matches behind closed doors.”
Newcastle boss Steve Bruce is certain it is “inevitable” the Prem will play games behind closed doors.
He said: “It’s hard to imagine. They’re doing it now in Italy and it’s something we will probably face. People’s lives are at stake and we’re going to have to be guided by the authorities. It’s looking inevitable.”
The Premier League and EFL have ditched pre-match handshakes until further notice, while several clubs told players not to sign autographs or take selfies with fans.
Scotland Women’s Six Nations clash with France in Glasgow today is off after a home player contracted the virus.
She is being treated in a healthcare facility, while seven other players and staff are self-isolating.
In cycling, the Milan-San Remo race, one of the sport’s five monuments scheduled for March 21, has been cancelled.
The Tirreno-Adriatico and Giro di Sicilia have also been postponed, raising doubts over this summer’s Tour de France.
Spain-based cycling team Movistar are suspending participation in races until March 22.
Formula One’s governing body the FIA have set up a ‘crisis cell’ to assess the spread of the virus before cancelling further races.
Although the Chinese GP has been axed, teams are off to Australia this weekend for the season-opener in Melbourne a week tomorrow.
Formula E’s Rome ePrix on April 4 has been KO’d.
The European Tour golf event, scheduled to start in Nairobi on March 12, has also been canned.
At Davis Cup and Fed Cup tennis events, some ball kids are in gloves, while some players are permitted to use towels only during changeovers.
Former British No 1 Greg Rusedski, 46, said: “Maybe we could have towel baskets where the player is the only one to take it out. Then ball kids don’t have to handle it.”