The Romanian Football League on Saturday called on players not to spit pitchside amid fears of potentially spreading swine flu.
“Following information linked to the spread of the H1N1 virus the League is recommending that officials of top flight clubs ask players and technical staff no longer to spit on the grass nor expel water used to rinse out their mouths,” the statement said.
“We suggest that coaches unable to desist (from spitting) wear a protective medical mask,” the League went on, adding, with a hint of irony, that they could also use a sealable receptacle for expelled saliva.
The League statement came at the end of a week which saw Romanian health authorities order the first school closure in the country after discovering 20 cases of swine flu among pupils in the northeastern town of Iasi.
More than 400 swine flu cases have been registered in Romania, none fatal.
Swine flu has become an increasing concern in football with last week’s French first division clash between Paris Saint-Germain and Marseille postponed after three Parisian players were diagnosed with the ailment.
Saturday’s second division French rugby match between Lyon OU and Tarbes was also called off after five Tarbes players were diagnosed as showing symptoms. Top flight side Castres had two matches postponed earlier in the season.
Spanish second division team Real Betis requested on Thursday that its game Sunday be postponed after 13 players became sick with the virus, which has also hit English Premier League sides Blackburn Rovers and Bolton.
However, UEFA said on Friday that European matches would go ahead as scheduled as long as clubs had sufficient fit players, barring any major logistical problem for local authorities.
The body made the statement ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League match between Dynamo Kiev and Inter Milan in the Ukrainian capital.
Ukraine had earlier confirmed its first swine flu deaths, prompting Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko to order schools and cinemas closed and ban public gatherings for three weeks to contain the spread of the virus.