The progression of the coronavirus in Italy has led the authorities to take strong measures in the sports world. The Italian Minister for Sport, Vincenzo Spadafora, announced Monday February 24 that the government has approved the organization of matches behind closed doors in six regions of the north of the country next weekend in Serie A, the football championship .
The six regions concerned are Lombardy, Veneto and Piedmont, the three most affected by the disease, but also Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Liguria and Emilia-Romagna.
According to the indications of the Minister of Health, the matches concerned this weekend by the measure should be Udinese-Fiorentina, AC Milan-Genoa, Parma-Spal, Sassuolo-Brescia, Sampdoria Genoa-Hellas Verona and especially the shock of the championship between Juventus, leader, and Inter Milan (3rd).
The Italian Football League has yet to confirm the weekend’s schedule, but the request for in camera matches was made by the Italian federation, eager not to accumulate the matches carried over into an already tight schedule.
Four Serie A matches have already been postponed over the weekend to a date yet to be determined.
However, the Champions League match between Naples and Barcelona will normally take place this evening. When they arrived at Naples Capodichino Airport, the Barcelona players still had to undergo a body temperature check.
In the other European competition, the Europa League, the meeting between Inter Milan and Ludogorets will take place behind closed doors. “Inter Milan reports that, in agreement with UEFA and with the provisions of the health authorities of the Lombardy region and of the municipality of Milan, the return match of the Europa League's knockout stages between Inter and Ludogorets is will play Thursday February 27 at 9 pm behind closed doors at the Meazza stadium ", Inter said, 2-0 first leg winner, in its statement.
- Rugby federation for its part announced the postponement of all the league matches scheduled for the coming weekend. Two matches of Pro14 rugby, a club competition between British, Italian and South African teams, were also postponed. The two matches in question were set to pit Zebre Rugby, an Italian franchise based in Parma, against the Welsh club Ospreys and Benetton Treviso against the Irish at Ulster on Saturday.
- The volleyball federation made a similar decision and postponed all matches of the various championships scheduled by March 1.
- In basketball, a decision is expected on Tuesday as to whether or not to hold the ladies' Euroleague matches scheduled for Venice and Schio on Wednesday's schedule.
- The Italian Ski Federation announced the suspension of national level events. But the Women's World Cup races scheduled for this weekend in La Thuile resort are being maintained for the time being.
- In cycling, Mauro Vegni, director of RCS Sport, which organizes most of the major Italian races, expressed his concern for the classic Milan-San Remo, scheduled for March 21. "Our first concerns concern Tirreno-Adriatico and especially Milan-San Remo which is scheduled in less than a month and for which there is not and there cannot be a plan B", he said to Corriere della Sera.
Postponement of matches in Japan
The Japanese football federation announced Tuesday (February 25th) the postponement of seven matches of its National Cup originally scheduled for Wednesday, due to fears of the spread of the coronavirus in the archipelago. The J-League said in a statement that it would also discuss a possible postponement of all scheduled matches until March 15. Japanese infectious disease specialists warned on Monday that the country was reaching "A critical moment" in the face of the epidemic, while the health ministry called for avoiding crowds and gatherings.
The suspension of Japanese Cup matches comes five months before the Tokyo Olympics. The Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games announced on Saturday that it will delay the training of volunteers who will oversee the Olympic fortnight, due to the epidemic, and the Tokyo Marathon on March 1 will be closed to some 38,000 registered amateur runners.