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UK considers staging premier league behind closed doors in coronavirus crackdown

London: The British government has called a meeting with its sports authorities and broadcasters to discuss how events could be staged without fans present if the coronavirus outbreak escalates, two people familiar with the matter said.

The department in charge of sport will meet on Monday with sports governing bodies including soccer and horse racing to discuss all outcomes including the possibility that some events could be staged behind closed doors if mass gatherings are banned, one source said.

Fans wearing face masks attend a Liverpool match in the English Premier League.

Fans wearing face masks attend a Liverpool match in the English Premier League.Credit:AP

Sky News sports correspondent Martha Kelner reported that another contingency being considered was advising people over 70 not to attend matches or even banning them. People over 70 are at higher risk of death from the COVID-19 illness.

The department declined to comment. A third person said they have been in regular dialogue with the government for some time.

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