STEVE BRUCE says it is “inevitable” that some Premier League games will have to be played behind-closed-doors because of the coronavirus.

With the Government’s medical policy having moved from the ‘containment’ stage to the ‘delay’ phase of their approach, there is an increased likelihood of major sporting events being postponed or played without spectators in the not-too-distant future.

The Italian authorities have ordered all sporting events to be held behind-closed-doors for the next month, and it is anticipated that if the virus continues to spread in this country, the Government could adopt a similar stance.

There are no plans to order a shut-down of the Premier League at this stage, but Bruce expects the situation to escalate and can envisage a scenario where Newcastle are forced to play at St James’ Park without supporters in attendance.

He said: “It’s (playing behind-closed-doors) hard to imagine, but they’re doing it now in Italy and it’s something we’re probably going to face.

“We all know football is a way out for everybody, but people’s lives are at stake and we’re going to have to be guided by the authorities. It’s starting to look inevitable.”