Wolverhampton Wanderers have condemned the decision made by governing body UEFA to not postpone their Europa League tie with Olympiacos, claiming the trip to Greece “poses unnecessary risks” to their players and staff.
The game will be played without fans after the Greek government enforced a temporary suspension of spectators attending sporting events, to limit the spread of the virus.
On Tuesday, the owner of football clubs Olympiacos in Greece and Nottingham Forest in England, Evangelos Marinakis also announced that he contracted coronavirus.
Despite his diagnosis, the English Football League insist there are no immediate plans to postpone any fixtures.
Olympiakos players are now being sent for tests to see if they have coronavirus.
Wolves confirmed they would respect UEFA’s decision and play the match, but urged the governing body to “consider alternative options moving forwards, as this will not be the last fixture to be affected by coronavirus.”
Read the full statement here:
The match will take place, behind closed doors, in line with the Greek government’s enforced temporary suspension of spectators attending sporting events, to limit the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19) in Greece.
Our position is that the trip poses unnecessary risks to our players, staff, supporters and the families of all who travel, at such critical and uncertain times.
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.
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, as well as the fact our fans have already contended with similar obstacles on our Europa League journey already this season.
We believe that there are some things that are more important than football, and that the good health of our pack and the general public is one of them. However, we respect the decision of UEFA and the integrity of the competition, and we will travel tomorrow to Greece to play the fixture.
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.