'There is no sense in football without the spectators' - Guardiola & Klopp weigh in on coronavirus measures

Goal.com

Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp have weighed in on the ongoing coronavirus crisis, with the former hinting that it would be better to postpone games altogether as opposed to staging them behind closed doors.

The COVID-19 outbreak continues to cause major disruptions to the football calendar with each passing day, as countries put protocols to contain the spread of the illness into place.

Following the announcement that Italy was put under a countrywide lockdown on Monday, it was confirmed that the current Serie A season has been put on hold indefinitely.

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The Champions League is also now in danger of being shut down, with two of this week's scheduled last-16 ties set to be played in empty stadiums.

Valencia's meeting with Atalanta on Tuesday night will be held behind closed doors, with Paris Saint-Germain set to follow suit when they play host to Borussia Dortmund at Parc des Princes on Wednesday.

Supporters have also been banned from attending Barcelona vs Napoli and Bayern Munich vs Chelsea on March 18 , and LASK will be forced to close their gates when Manchester United arrive in Austria for a Europa League clash on Thursday.

Guardiola is currently preparing his Manchester City side for Arsenal's arrival at the Etihad Stadium in midweek, which is the same venue they will welcome Real Madrid to in the second leg of their first Champions League knockout stage tie next Tuesday.

It is not yet known if that fixture will go ahead as planned given the rising number of coronavirus cases in Spain, which has caused La Liga to shut up shop for the next 15 days.

"We are conscious of it because it has happened already in Italy," Guardiola said when asked to comment on the action being taken to combat coronavirus. "The league is suspended, 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 it is 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 cups without the people. But we are going to follow the instructions of the governments.

"Everybody around the world is involved in that and we just follow what we have to do and follow the instructions."

Liverpool do not have to worry about being without the support of their fans when they take on Atletico Madrid at Anfield on Wednesday, as they continue to chase down a second successive European Cup triumph.

Klopp has conceded that "some things are more important than football" and Liverpool will respect whatever decisions are made when it comes to how the British government deal with coronavirus, but he shares Guardiola's scepticism when it comes stopping fans from attending games.

"It is not about me as a manager. When something shows in the moment, some things are more important than football," Klopp told reporters.

"We realise that in this moment. We need to find a solution for that. Avoiding different situations, I don’t know how much it would help.

"Whatever will be decided we will respect. We all have families and friends which we want to do well. We will accept that but I don’t know how much sense it will make."

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