Serie A games behind closed doors until April 3 amid coronavirus fears

Tom Webber

Rome, March 5: Serie A and all other sporting events in Italy will have to take place behind closed doors until April 3 following a government decree amid concerns surrounding the coronavirus.

Prime minister Giuseppe Conte made the announcement on Wednesday (March 4) after the coronavirus issue continued to cause havoc with the scheduling of Italian football.

Serie A matches have been called off over the past two weekends, along with the midweek Coppa Italia semi-finals.

A scheduled Lega Serie A emergency assembly on Wednesday failed to go ahead as only nine clubs were represented, with 14 required.

Coppa Italia semi-final between Juventus and Milan postponed due to coronavirus fears

Rather than cancel all events, though, fixtures in regions not heavily affected by the virus can take place without members of the public in attendance for the next 30 days.

The decree stated: "Sports events and competitions of all kinds and disciplines, held in every place, both public and private, are suspended.

"However, in municipalities other than those listed in Annex 1 of the prime minister's decree of March 1, 2020, and subsequent amendments, the holding of the aforementioned events and competitions, as well as training sessions for competitive athletes, is still allowed inside sports facilities used behind closed doors, or outdoors without the presence of the public.

"In all such cases, associations and sports clubs, by means of their medical staff, are required to carry out the appropriate checks to contain the risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus among athletes, technicians, managers and all accompanying persons who participate.

"Basic sports and motor activities in general, carried out outdoors or inside gyms, swimming pools and sports centres of all kinds, are allowed only on condition that it is possible to comply with the recommendation set out in Annex 1, letter D.

"The provisions of this decree have their effect from the date of publication in the Official Gazette of the Italian Republic and are effective, subject to different provisions contained in the individual measures, until April 3, 2020."

Juventus-Inter among five Serie A games postponed amid coronavirus fears

Aside from concerns directly related to the virus outbreak, there are worries over the physical and psychological effects on players if fixtures stack up before the end of the season.

All elite football competitions in the 2019-20 season must be completed by May 24 due to Euro 2020 coming at the end of the campaign.

There are 2,502 confirmed cases of the virus in Italy, with 80 deaths, while there have been 3,199 fatalities worldwide.

Also Read:

Premier League dispenses with pre-match handshakes due to coronavirus fears

Gonzalo Higuain's future up in the air: Three strikers Juventus have shortlisted to replace him in Summer

Inter donate €100,000 to coronavirus research