Basketball / NBA

NBA says teams should plan for possibility of games without fans amid COVID-19 concerns

AP, AFP-JIJI

The NBA told its teams Friday that they should be developing processes in case it becomes necessary to play games without fans or media because of the coronavirus crisis.

The league sent a memo detailing potential actions teams could need to take “if it were to become necessary to play a game with only essential staff present.”

The memo, obtained by The Associated Press, says teams should identify which team and arena people would be necessary to conduct games, and be able to communicate quickly with non-essential staff, as well as ticket holders and corporate partners.

Teams should also be prepared “for the possibility of implementing temperature checks on players, team staff, referees, and anyone else who is essential to conducting such a game in the team’s arena.”

Contents of the memo were first reported by The Athletic.

The letter also says teams should plan for scenarios in which media could attend games under revised media policies.

The league had already sent a memo to teams this week offering 10 recommendations to players with hopes of decreasing risks of getting the virus — among them, not taking items such as pens, markers, balls and jerseys from autograph seekers.

The World Health Organization has called the spread of the virus “deeply concerning” as a wave of countries reported their first cases of the disease, which has now killed nearly 3,500 people and infected more than 100,000 across 92 nations and territories.

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