Coronavirus: the football player's perspective

Badu plays in Verona in the north of Italy - the area of the country worst-hit by the virus

Emmanuel Agyemang Badu is a Ghana international midfielder playing for Hellas Verona in Italy - where all sporting events, including games in the top division, Serie A - will be played behind closed doors until 3 April due to the coronavirus outbreak in the country.

Here, he tells the BBC how it feels to be a player caught up in the events:

I was expecting this because it's really spreading so fast, so we needed to take the decision - although playing without supporters in the stands is a bit strange for us.

But we can't risk anything, because the virus is spreading very fast now.

So there are two options - either we suspend the league, or we play without supporters. We can't risk lives.


Inter Milan v Ludogorets
Inter Milan's Europa League game against Ludogorets was played at an empty San Siro

I'm worried, because I live in Italy, where it is spreading a lot. I have friends in China and they can't go out at all.

I have friends in other parts of Italy too. We are all a bit worried - but we can't do anything. It's something where we just have to take good care of ourselves.

They have given us the advice on what we need to do to avoid coronavirus - we just need to read it and abide by it.

I'm someone who doesn't go out a lot anyway, but I'm a human being and we all need to go out sometimes - just to go to the mall, or to a restaurant to eat, or to do the laundry, or do some window shopping.

Right now, all that has changed. Most places have been closed down.

Even going to safe places, you need to be very careful. To avoid coronavirus, I can only go to training, and then go straight back home.

This is how I can save myself from getting it. The virus is really spreading. We can't risk lives - that is the first thing we have to think about.

I think playing behind closed doors for three weeks or a month is the action we have to take. We need to understand whatever additions to the law are brought out, and go with it.


Fans display banner reading "in tragedies there is no rivalry, united against Covid-19"
Fans in Italian football have been very aware of the virus and its potential impact

Most of the top clubs in Italy - Napoli, Juventus, Inter Milan - have a busy schedule; it is very difficult for them because they have Champions League games, they have Coppa Italia games - and most of their players are in international action this month as well.

If they are playing without their supporters, and they go outside of the country and the supporters of other teams have their fans there, it is a disadvantage for the Italian clubs.

It does seem unfair - but that is just my opinion. Those making the decisions know what is best.

The virus is spreading fast. We know that in Switzerland they have suspended the league altogether.

I think Uefa will make a decision over this that will be good for every team. It is going to be very worrisome for fans as well.

Going to the stadium to support your club is fun - and a great way to relieve stress and see some of the players with your own eyes. It is awesome for the supporters, to go with your family and see it for real.

But life is so precious, and so good - you can't just risk anything for it.

So we just have to make the decision to save the players; save the families; and save the supporters.

Emmanuel Agyemang Badu was talking to BBC Sport Africa's Stanley Kwenda