The English Premier League, the biggest soccer league in the world, will no longer shake hands before matches amidst rising coronavirus concerns.
The league made the announcement Thursday, saying that the fair-play handshake will be gone “until further notice based on medical advice,” a statement from the league reads.
But the rest of the pre-game ritual will be the same, the league said.
“Clubs and match officials will still perform the rest of the traditional walk-out protocol ahead of each fixture,” the statement says. “On entering the field of play, the two teams will continue to line up, accompanied by the Premier League music, then players from the home team will walk past their opposition without shaking their hands.”
Coronavirus is spread through droplets from the nose and mouth, and can be transmitted via handshakes. The EPL isn’t the only place nixing handshakes — politicians around the world have also been seen substituting the greeting for elbow bumps.
Meanwhile, in Italy, fans have been prohibited from attending sporting events because of the outbreak. Italy has seen a dramatic uptick in coronavirus cases in recent weeks.