Handshakes Suspended In Popular Football League As Coronavirus Fears Grows
The SPFL and the Scottish FA have issued an instruction to clubs, coaches and match officials to suspend pre and post-match handshakes in matches until further notice as a coronavirus precaution.
The guidance takes effect immediately, with the Edinburgh derby clash between Hibs and Hearts and the huge relegation battle at the bottom of the Championship between Partick Thistle and Queen of the South the first affected.
Such action has been rolled out to all levels of football – from the Premiership down to the juniors and amateurs.
Ian Maxwell, Scottish FA chief executive, said:
“The safety of everyone involved in attending or participating in a major football event is our foremost consideration and given the developing situation locally and internationally, it is incumbent on the football authorities to speak with one voice in providing guidance and reassurance to stakeholders. This applies to matches hosted here in Scotland but also for teams participating in competitions outwith the country.
“Our Medical Consultant is in regular dialogue with experts and colleagues across the UK and beyond and we will be guided by the U.K. Chief Medical Officer as well as Dr Catherine Calderwood, the Chief Medical Officer for Scotland.
“While it is important to stress that the current government advice states the risk to individuals is moderate, nonetheless we are starting to see the impact the spread of the virus is having, with the postponement of sporting events across Europe.”