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Mar 31, 2020 at 8pm UK at Wembley Stadium
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Coronavirus latest: England-Denmark friendly expected to be axed

Coronavirus latest: England-Denmark friendly expected to be axed
© Reuters
A Cobra meeting later on Thursday may introduce restrictions on public gatherings.

The Danish football federation expects the friendly against England at Wembley later this month will be cancelled as a result of the global coronavirus pandemic.

The Football Association is following advice from the British Government regarding the staging of sporting events, with the Prime Minister due to lead a Cobra meeting at lunchtime.

Ministers are expected to agree at that meeting to move into the ‘delay’ stage of the response against the virus, with 460 confirmed cases in the UK.

Coronavirus cases in Europe
Coronavirus cases in Europe (PA Graphics)

Moving to the delay stage would mean social distancing measures could be brought in, such as restricting public gatherings like major sporting events and issuing more widespread advice to stay at home.

In Denmark the government has already made such moves, and a statement issued by the national football association (DBU) said: “The men’s friendly matches against the Faroe Islands in Herning on March 27 and against England at Wembley on March 31 are expected to be cancelled.”

The Danish federation says all domestic football activity will cease until March 29 at the earliest.

England are due to face Italy before they take on the Danes, in a match scheduled for March 27, but with Italy in lockdown it seems hugely unlikely that the game will happen.

Serie A champions Juventus announced on Wednesday night that one of their players, Daniele Rugani, had tested positive for coronavirus.

The domestic season has been suspended until April 3 at the earliest, with Italy the worst-hit country in Europe.

But the news on Rugani may well force the postponement of Juve’s Champions League match against Lyon, due to take place in Turin next week, after the Italian club said it was now implementing isolation procedures for those who may have had contact with him.

Rugani tweeted: “You will have read the news and that’s why I want to reassure all those who are worrying about me, I’m fine.

“I urge everyone to respect the rules, because this virus makes no distinctions! Let’s do it for ourselves, for our loved ones and for those around us. #grazie”

The Bosnian federation announced on Thursday it had written to European football’s governing body UEFA requesting a postponement of their Euro 2020 play-off match against Northern Ireland, due to take place in Zenica on March 26.

The NBA season has been suspended indefinitely after a Utah Jazz player tested positive ahead of a match against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Basketball’s world governing body FIBA is suspending all its competitions from Friday onwards, while EuroLeague Basketball is also suspended until further notice.

Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton has criticised his sport’s decision to press ahead with the Australian Grand Prix this week.

“I am very, very surprised we are here,” the Briton said.

“It’s great we have races but it’s shocking we are sitting in this room.

Five F1 team members have been advised to go into self-isolation in Sydney after displaying symptoms which could indicate coronavirus.

“[There are] so many fans there and it seems like the rest of the world is reacting – probably a little bit late,” Hamilton said.

“We are seeing (Donald) Trump shutting down the borders, the NBA has been suspended, yet F1 continues to go on.”

Manchester United will reimburse supporters who bought tickets through the club to the tune of £350 each to cover travel costs after a decision was taken at short notice by their Austrian opponents LASK to move Thursday’s Europa League match behind closed doors.

Nottingham Forest and Olympiacos owner Evangelos Marinakis has contracted coronavirus
Nottingham Forest and Olympiacos owner Evangelos Marinakis has contracted coronavirus (Mike Egerton/PA)

Wolves’ tie away to Olympiacos in Athens will also be played behind closed doors. The Greek side’s owner Evangelos Marinakis announced on Tuesday he had contracted the virus, but the game goes ahead after Olympiacos players and staff tested negative.

Marinakis is also the owner of Championship club Nottingham Forest, who announced on Wednesday that all players and officials who had been in contact with the businessman during his visit to the club last week had tested negative for the virus.

Golf’s Players Championship in Florida, often referred to as the sport’s fifth major, is due to start on schedule with spectators in attendance on Thursday.

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