Sports

All sport in Italy to be suspended

All sport at all levels in Italy is to be suspended until at least 3 April because of coronavirus, the country’s Olympic committee has announced.

This includes football matches in Serie A but does not cover Italian clubs or national teams participating in international competitions.

Serie A – Italy’s top flight – had already said all games would be played behind closed doors until 3 April.

“This situation has no precedent in history,” a CONI statement said.

The Italian government is now required to issue a specific prime ministerial decree to confirm the decision, added the CONI, which hosted a special meeting of sporting federations on Monday.

In rugby union, England’s men’s and women’s Six Nations matches against Italy, which were scheduled to take place on 14 March and 15 March respectively, were postponed last week.

Italy has been the European country worst hit by coronavirus so far, with over 7,000 confirmed cases and more than 450 deaths.

At the weekend Italy’s sports minister Vincenzo Spadafora accused Serie A of being “irresponsible” for ignoring his calls for football to be suspended because of the outbreak.

He said it “makes no sense” for football to continue after up to 16 million people were placed in quarantine in northern Italy in a bid to contain the spread of the virus – but the weekend’s games all took place behind closed doors.

Parma’s fixture against SPAL on Sunday kicked off 75 minutes late as they awaited a decision on whether the match would go ahead after Spadafora’s comments.

Paris St-Germain’s Champions League last-16 match against Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday will be played behind closed doors because of coronavirus.

There have been reports on Monday that the French sports ministry had decided matches in Ligue 1 – the country’s top-flight football competition – should be played behind closed doors or in front of no more than 1,000 spectators as a measure to limit the spread of the virus.

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