Pubs could be banned from showing Sky and BT Sport football coverage if coronavirus means games are behind closed doors – The Sun

PUBS could be banned from showing football on Sky and BT if sporting events are to be held behind closed doors.

Deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam warned government officials last week that blocking fans from games would force them into pubs.

According to The Times, one official at the meeting said: "There was probably more risk of the virus spreading in packed pubs than in open air stadia."

Sky and BT were reported to be considering the potential of showing football for free if stadiums were closed off.

But there are now fears that doing that would lead to large groups of people flocking to bars to watch the games instead.

Sky and BT could be told to block their signals from going into pubs – potentially putting them at odds with landlords.

The cost for a pub to screen Sky Sports is about £10,000 a year.

Major sports broadcasters will meet government chiefs today to discuss what should be done if, as appears likely, the spread of Covid-19 escalates.

One senior sports administrator told The Times: "It will be an open conversation about what we can all do to help, should it become necessary.

"If you look at things logically, I can see broadcaster being asked to make events free-to-air and block signals into pubs."

As well as football, the events being discussed will include Wimbledon in June, England's Test cricket and one-day matches and The Hundred.

There is also the London Marathon on Sunday, April 26 as well as rugby union and league games.

Indian Wells was axed earlier today after a coronavirus case was confirmed in nearby Coachella Valley in California, US.

The Bahrain GP will be held behind closed doors due to the killer virus – which has claimed a third victim in the UK.

Cristiano Ronaldo high-fived imaginary fans before Juventus beat Inter Milan last night, as supporters in Italy remain in lockdown with players threatening to strike.

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