Crystal Palace: Patrick Vieira fears "disaster" if Covid-19 variant forces football behind closed doors

Patrick Vieira
Crystal Palace have won three Premier League games this season

Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira says it would be a "disaster" if growing Covid-19 fears forced football behind closed doors.

New restrictions known as 'Plan B' will come in from Wednesday in England, including fans needing proof of vaccination or a negative lateral flow test to attend Premier League matches.

Vieira opposes the possibility of empty stadiums, a common sight last season.

"This is the worst case scenario," he said.

"From my personal point of view, it is a disaster to play football matches without the fans.

"It is something that is difficult to process and I hope we will not get there because what the game needs is to have fans at the stadium."

Palace have cancelled their Christmas party plans as the Omicron variant continues to spread across the UK.

Fans were shut out when football returned from an enforced break in June 2020, and were not allowed to return at full capacity until the beginning of this season. Pilot events last December allowed crowds of 2,000 to attend selected matches, before each club welcomed back 10,000 at the end of the 2020-21 campaign

There has not been any suggestion of a return to that policy despite more restrictions being brought in.

In Germany, crowds have been reduced as infections increase, while Bayern Munich matches will be played behind closed doors by order of the Bavarian authorities.external-link

Football has already felt the effects of the surge, with Tottenham's Europa Conference League match against Rennes being called off on Thursday because the English club was dealing with an outbreak.

Their Premier League game with Brighton this weekend has also been postponed as a result.

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