WITH fears coronavirus will continue to spread, the Sydenhams Wessex League has banned footballers and match officials from shaking hands — a move which includes Isle of Wight clubs Cowes Sports, Newport and East Cowes Vics.

The directive from the Wessex League, which came into effect today (Tuesday), was made amid the government's announcement on its plans to battle COVID-19.

At the weekend, Southampton FC boss, Ralph Hasenhuttl, banned his players from handshaking, signing autographs and taking selfies with fans as virus fears spreads into sports. 

Read more: Coronavirus advice for Isle if Wight residents

In a statement made by the Sydenhams Wessex League on social media, it read: “Given the current situation and guidance issued by the public health authorities, the League feel it is advisable and prudent the following be temporarily suspended until further notice:

• Pre-match handshakes as part of the RESPECT campaign, by players and officials.
• Handshakes by captains and officials at the toss of the coin prior to the start of a match.
• Handshakes by players and officials after the final whistle.

The directive will take effect until further notice.