No handshakes between players and officials in French league

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              PSG's Angel Di Maria, right, walks off after being substituted by PSG's Julian Draxler during the French League One soccer match between Paris-Saint-Germain and Dijon, at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris, France, Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)
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There will be no handshakes between players and officials at upcoming French league matches, as a precautionary measure against the virus spreading around the world.

The French league said in a statement Wednesday that pre-match protocol has been modified to help prevent the “spread of the coronavirus.”

Players and the match referee will hold young mascots by the shoulder, and not by the hand as usually happens, when the teams enter the field.

Players from each side will line up without their traditional pre-match handshakes, while handshakes between the coaches and match officials are also scrapped.

These measures are valid until further notice, said the LFP, which is working in conjunction with the health, sports and interior ministries.

The virus outbreak that started in China has spread to at least 70 countries.

The total number of cases in France reached 257 by Wednesday, with four deaths, the health ministry said.