LeBron James slams coronavirus plans and will refuse to play games without fans
LeBron James says he will refuse to play matches without the fans present despite the NBA considering the option amid the coronavirus outbreak.
The NBA have reportedly told teams to prepare to play games without fans attending due to the fears over coronavirus.
NBA insider Shams Charania claimed: "The NBA has sent a memo to its franchises explaining that, due to coronavirus outbreak, teams should be preparing to play games without fans in attendance and identifying “essential staff” present for these games – should it be necessary."
And speaking after James guided the Lakers to a 113-103 win over the Milwaukee Bucks, the 35-year-old made it clear he would refuse to play if such plans were put into place.
“We play games without the fans? No, it’s not possible,” he said.
“I ain’t playing. Any other fans in the crowd, that’s who I play for.
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NBA tells teams to prepare to play games without fans due to coronavirus
“Play for my team-mates, I play for the fans, that’s what it’s all about.
“If I show up to an arena and there ain’t no fans there I ain’t playing so they can do what they want to do.”
America currently has more than 300 confirmed infections of coronavirus with 17 resulting in death.
Italy has been one of the countries hardest hit by the virus that has also had a significant impact on sporting events.
Fans have been banned from all sporting events in Italy until April 3, while Serie A matches, as well as the Six Nations clashes, have been moved.
"Suspension of sporting events and competitions of any order and discipline, carried out in every place, both public and private," an Italian statement read.
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"However, in the municipalities other than those in the so-called red zone, the aforementioned events and competitions, as well as the training sessions of competitive athletes, are still allowed, inside sports facilities used behind closed doors, or outdoors without the presence of public.
"In all such cases, associations and sports clubs, through their medical staff, are required to carry out the appropriate checks to contain the risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus among athletes, technicians."
Meanwhile, today’s Premier League matches will see no fair play handshakes takes place before kickoff.
“The Premier League fair-play handshake will not take place between players and match officials from this weekend until further notice based on medical advice,” a statement read.
“Coronavirus is spread via droplets from the nose and mouth and can be transmitted onto the hands and passed on via a handshake.
“Club and match officials will still perform the rest of the traditional walk-out protocol ahead of each fixture. On entering the field of play, the two teams will continue to line up, accompanied by the Premier League music, then players from the home team will walk past their opposition without shaking their hands.”
- LeBron James
- Sir Alex Ferguson
- Serie A
- Premier League
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