Coronavirus: Wolves say Olympiakos Europa League tie is ‘unnecessary risk’

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Olympiakos beat Arsenal with a last-minute goal in extra time to reach the last 16

Wolves say their Europa League last-16 first-leg match at Olympiakos is an “unnecessary risk” after Uefa rejected their request to postpone the game.

The match in Greece on Thursday will be played behind closed doors because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Wolves said they respect the decision by European football’s governing body and will travel to Greece on Wednesday to take part in the fixture.

“There are some things that are more important than football,” they added.

“The good health of our pack and the general public is one of them.

“Our position is that the trip poses an unnecessary risks to our players, staff, supporters and the families of all who travel, at such critical and uncertain times.”

Nottingham Forest and Olympiakos owner Evangelos Marinakis has tested positive for coronavirus.

“Our concern is also for our opponents, whose players and staff have today been tested, and will now be expected to play their part in an important fixture, under the difficult and challenging circumstances of their owner suffering with the virus,” added Wolves.

The Greek government announced on Sunday that all professional sports events for the next two weeks will be played without spectators.

On Monday, Uefa confirmed it was the case for this fixture. Wolves had sold 1,000 tickets for the match.

“There is also disappointment that the match will be played without home and away supporters, as that is part of what makes European competition so special,” said Wolves.

“We hope that our request to Uefa, and our acceptance of their decision, can act as the catalyst for them to consider alternative options moving forwards, as this will not be the last fixture to be affected by coronavirus.”

The first leg of Manchester United’s Europa League last-16 tie at LASK on Thursday will also be played behind closed doors because of coronavirus concerns.

Spanish side Getafe are reportedly refusing to travel to Italy to face Inter Milan in their Europa League match on Thursday.

All sport in Italy has been suspended until at least 3 April because of coronavirus, but this does not include Italian clubs or national teams participating in international competitions.

Getafe president Angel Torres told the El Transistor programme on Spanish radio station Onda Cero that Uefa rejected his club’s request for an alternative venue.

“Unless it changes a lot before the morning, Getafe will not travel to Milan,” he said.

“We have asked for help too from the Spanish football federation to demand that the game be suspended.

“If we lose the tie, then we lose the tie.”

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