OL-Juventus football match maintained despite worries over coronavirus

Olympique Lyonnais players during their training on February 25, the day before their Champions League match against Juventus de Turin.
Olympique Lyonnais players during their training on February 25, the day before their Champions League match against Juventus de Turin. PHILIPPE DESMAZES / AFP

The authorities refuse for the time being to question the holding of the meeting, but the anxiety is very present in the minds. The progress of the coronavirus epidemic in Italy raises concerns before the knockout leg of the Champions League first leg scheduled for Wednesday February 26 in Lyon between Olympique Lyonnais and Juventus Turin.

The mayors of Meyzieu and Décines-Charpieu, where the Olympique Lyonnais stadium is to host the match, asked the authorities on Tuesday to ban the arrival of nearly 3,000 supporters of Juve "In the name of the precautionary principle but also of the prevention of any disturbance to public order".

Town councilors LR Christophe Quiniou and Laurence Fautra, who have already expressed their reservations "The firmest" at the prefecture and the regional health agency, believe that this match "Gives rise to fears, legitimate" with their citizens, "Immediately affected by the welcome and the flow of supporters".

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"All supporters can come without difficulty"

Juventus, for its part, ensures that"There are no specific restrictions for tifosi bianconeri (white and black supporters) " and that his fans can attend " no problem " to meet as she plays her next Italian Championship home game on Sunday against Inter to avoid any risk of spread.

In Lyon, the president of OL, Jean-Michel Aulas, also wanted to be reassuring, calling for "Do not create additional anxieties". For the moment "There is no restriction measure, (…) the Italian supporters will be in a space which is not in contact with the other spectators", he said.

“All the supporters of Lyon and Juve can come without difficulty (…). The fear for us is not related to the virus but rather to the quality of this Turin team. "

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OL, a club listed on the stock exchange, expects to generate record revenues on Wednesday evening at its stadium, thanks to an estimated attendance of more than 57,000 spectators. Comparable to, or even better than, the match against FC Barcelona last season, which had generated more than five million euros in revenue.

"People come from all over Italy because Turin is the most popular club in the country", we are told at the Olympique Lyonnais. More than 2,700 fans must make the trip, without the ultras, however, currently in conflict with the management of Juventus.

Italy, the most affected country in Europe

The latest official report shows 283 cases of coronavirus in Italy, where ten people died from the disease, making it the most affected country in Europe. The main focus is in the Lombardy region (north-west), near Piedmont – that of Turin – where six cases have been identified.

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After a meeting with his European colleagues in Rome, the Minister of Health, Olivier Véran, once again estimated that"There is no reason to cancel a priori major public events whether they are of a sporting or cultural nature", while agreeing on the fact “To look at each situation on a case-by-case basis”.

"The Piedmont region is not considered to be a risk region by France, so there is no reason to cancel. "

“We trust the Italian authorities. There are containment zones from which people do not leave, but the others circulate: there are whole regions of Italy where there is no identification of the virus ", said the Director General of Health, Jérôme Salomon, Monday evening.

"It is your immediate neighbors and not the stadium which is contaminated, it is the same if you take a car, if you take public transport, etc. "

Postponements of matches or in camera are usually decided by sports bodies in consultation with the authorities, broadcasters and clubs.

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