March 12 (Reuters) - Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has said health concerns must be the top priority and that the club would back a suspension of Premier League matches over the coronavirus pandemic.
Italy’s Serie A has been suspended while France’s Ligue 1 and Spanish La Liga games are being played without fans as Europe grapples with the outbreak that has killed over 4,000 people globally and infected more than 119,000.
The Times reported on Wednesday that all Premier League and lower division matches in England are to be played without fans and Solskjaer said he would understand if the authorities also called for a suspension.
“Yes I’d understand it in the circumstances,” Solskjaer told reporters ahead of Thursday’s Europa League last 16 first leg at Austria’s LASK, which is being played without fans.
“Of course it’s up to the experts to decide and the main concern must be the health of the general public. And the decision that will be made we will back.”
Several international sporting events have been affected by the virus which originated in China last year.
“These are difficult circumstances not just for football but in the whole society so we have to do what we’re told and get on with the game if that’s what the authorities think,” Solskjaer said of the decision to play in an empty stadium.
“And the players have been the same, they have prepared for the game as we normally do. We’re going to have to create our own atmosphere within the team, within the game.” (Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford )