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Behind closed doors not ideal

Tony Mowbray admits playing in empty stadiums would not be an ideal scenario for all involved

15 March 2020

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Tony Mowbray believes postponing the professional game was arguably the best option – rather than clubs being instructed to fulfil fixtures behind closed doors.

Having watched games in European competitions be played in empty stadiums over the past week, Mowbray admits it is the atmosphere generated by the supporters that inspires the players to put on a show.

Speaking after Friday’s announcement that all football would be suspended until early April, the Rovers manager said: “What’s happened in football was that a very high-profile football manager in the Premier League has now got Coronavirus and some pretty significant footballers have now got Coronavirus.

“And when is a team expected to play without its head coach or its star players?

“How many players have to be ill before you can postpone a game? I don’t know the answer to that, of course.

“I think it’s a knock-on effect. If you’ve got managers and you’ve got players self-isolating, I think it’s telling the football world that people’s health and public health is more important than a football match.

“And whilst it’s frustrating, behind closed doors is not ideal, because football is meant to be played in front of supporters in my opinion.

“I sat and watched Champions League games and Europa League games behind closed doors this week and it’s not a spectacle to watch.

“I’ve never turned football off and yet I was flicking like I wasn’t really bothered, because there was no atmosphere in the stadium. That’s not ideal for players or fans.

“We’re in the entertainment business and it’s the atmosphere in the stadium that inspires the players to exhibit their skills and that is what makes the game.”

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