Paris Saint-Germain’s most important game of the season could be played inside an empty Parc des Princes due to fears over the coronavirus.
The UEFA Champions League Round of 16 concludes this month and according to Goal, some speculate that those games, which include PSG’s rematch against Borussia Dortmund on March 11, could be played behind closed doors to limit the spread of the disease.
On Saturday, PSG defeated Dijon FCO 4-0 in front of a full crowd in Paris but several precautions were taken due to the coronavirus, including no handshakes between the players, no children walking out with the players, and journalists were limited in how much they could interact with the players.
Around Europe, we’ve already seen games postponed and played behind closed doors as governments and football officials act to do everything they can to keep players, journalists, and fans safe at matches.
After PSG’s win over Dijon, Marquinhos was asked by reporters what he thinks about the potential of having to play Dortmund without any fans in the stadium:
“That would be a shame. If it is to be played behind closed doors, I think the best thing would be to cancel because we want our supporters and they will want theirs too.”
“I hope it doesn’t happen. If this decision is made, I think we will ask to cancel the match to play with our supporters.”
A cynical PSG supporter might say that perhaps the team would play better without the pressure of the fans but most likely, PSG would suffer.
— Marc Damon (@MarcDamon1) February 29, 2020
Fans can have a huge impact on the momentum of a game. After Dortmund’s 2-1 win over PSG, manager Thomas Tuchel spoke about the atmosphere inside Signal Iduna Park and how it impacted his players. It would be a distinct disadvantage for PSG if they didn’t have their notorious supporters in the stands for the rematch.
Obviously, the coronavirus is extremely serious and we’re talking about a trivial football match. No one’s health is worth risking, which is why, if officials feel it isn’t safe to play the games as scheduled, the entire Champions League needs to be postponed until fans can return to the stands.
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