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Players advised not to share water bottles due to coronavirus

The Professional Footballers' Association has issued information for its members and the clubs they play for in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

Players have been advised to avoid sharing water bottles or other personal items as part of wide-ranging guidance on how to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

The Professional Footballers' Association has issued information for its members and the clubs they play for, as part of a co-ordinated response to tackle Covid-19.

As well as being advised to avoid sharing items with team-mates, the guidance suggests players and staff should avoid eating in changing rooms and keep personal possessions in bags rather than leaving them exposed in changing rooms, while there is also advice on hand-washing.

There is also advice about what players should do if they or someone close to them begins to suffer flu-like symptoms.

The guidance to clubs covers the provision of appropriate hand disinfectant for staff to use in communal areas, the regular disinfection of communal areas, limiting access to changing rooms and the field of play to all but essential personnel, and checking in advance the state of facilities at clubs preparing to host them.

PFA deputy chief executive Bobby Barnes said: "This is a very fast-moving situation which is subject to change on an hourly basis.

"We are discussing with governing bodies, not only in the UK but also globally, to ascertain the best advice and information for our members.

"Players will and should be taking medical advice from the appropriate medical staff at their individual clubs together with their respective government's national advice at this time.

The news that Olympiacos owner Evangelos Marinakis has contracted the coronavirus forced the postponement of the Manchester City v Arsenal match
The news that Olympiacos owner Evangelos Marinakis has contracted the coronavirus forced the postponement of the Manchester City v Arsenal match (Tim Goode/PA)

"It is important to stress that this is a public health issue, not just for football, but the wider community – that should be on the forefront of everybody's minds when making decisions."

By Tuesday morning there were 382 confirmed cases of the virus in the UK. The football programme in this country has continued as scheduled so far, with the exception of the Manchester City v Arsenal Premier League match.

That game, due to have been played on Wednesday night, has been postponed as a precautionary measure. A number of Arsenal players met with Olympiacos owner Evangelos Marinakis on February 27, with the Greek businessman having announced on Tuesday that he has contracted the virus.

Across mainland Europe, the picture is very different. The Italian top flight has been suspended until April 3, matches in the top two tiers of French football must be played behind closed doors until April 15 and the next two rounds of LaLiga matches must also be played without supporters present.

Champions League and Europa League fixtures, including Manchester United's match away to Austrian side LASK on Thursday night, will also be played behind closed doors.

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