Wolves chairman urges fans to 'stay safe' as football season is suspended due to coronavirus outbreak

Wolves chairman Jeff Shi has issued a message to supporters following the Premier League's decision to postpone the season due to the coronavirus.

The club has also decided to close Molineux and cancel any functions during the same period.

Mr Shi described the situation as one of 'great adversity' and urged fans to stay safe and look after each other.

He also said the club's Europa League fixture in Athens against Olympiacos was 'not appropriate' to play, and he praised staff for their professionalism.

  • Read Jeff Shi's message in full:

"I write this note at a time of great adversity, not just for football, or for the country my family and I are honoured to now call our home, but for the population of the entire world that we share.

"I’ve been in close contact with friends, family and colleagues in China since the coronavirus pandemic began in Wuhan, which has afforded me an acute awareness of the virus’ threat and impact, and a deep desire to take all measures possible to protect our players, staff, supporters and the community that we live in.

"Firstly, I would like to heap praise on our coaches, players and staff who travelled to Athens this week to take part in a fixture that none of us felt was appropriate to play. They showed great professionalism and dedication to take to the field in a stadium devoid of atmosphere, in a continent gripped with anxiety, and still deliver a performance and positive result.

"Of course, we took all appropriate measures to ensure that the staff and players who travelled were protected where possible from the threat of contracting coronavirus, and we will continue to keep improving these measures all the time to help them remain safe and healthy.

Manager Nuno Espirito Santo (left) with Jeff Shi (right) during the Sky Bet Championship match at Molineux in 2018. Credit: PA

"At Wolves we have a responsibility to protect not only our players, but also every employee at the club, which is why we have taken the further step of asking all of our staff to work from home over the forthcoming days and weeks. From my knowledge and understanding of the virus, social distancing is crucial to the fight against it, so this is a necessary course of action and a sacrifice we all have to make.

"We have also taken the decision to temporarily close important parts of Molineux, such as the Megastore, Ticket Office and Wolves Foundation to ensure that our staff are able to stay at home where possible and make their contribution to limiting the spread of the virus. All of our staff will of course continue to be paid for the duration of the club’s closure and this period of uncertainty.

"I appeal to our supporters to follow our lead, and to stay as safe as possible during what will no doubt be a very testing time. Please don’t underestimate the threat of this virus, to you or those around you, and employ best practice to limit the spread, including good hygiene and proper social distancing, which are both key.

"Our ownership group Fosun are also very keen to do all they can to help, and have been in contact with us, and the City of Wolverhampton Council, to express their support for Wolves and the people of this city.

"Finally, I would like to make a promise to all Wolves supporters: Throughout the challenges of the forthcoming weeks and months, everyone at Wolves will continue to work as hard as we possibly can to keep progressing, keep innovating, and return even stronger and more hungry to achieve success. We will not rest.

"Until then, please stay safe and don’t take any risks. Look after yourselves and look after each other. We will get through this."