Spread of coronavirus upending schedule of Italian football league

Fears over the spread of coronavirus in Italy will see Inter Milan play Ludogoret in the Europa League in an empty stadium.

Other Serie A fixtures may suffer the same fate. Last Sunday, four Serie A games were postponed, including Inter Milan’s game against Sampdoria at the San Siro.

The Italian government is moving towards having Serie A matches played behind closed doors in areas affected by the deadly virus. Authorities are trying to contain the spread of the virus that has made northern Italy the focal point of the outbreak in Europe.

Serie A president Paolo Dal Pinto sent a letter to the government on Monday (Feb 24) asking if matches could be played without fans present, considering there is little time for revised fixtures and that all elite football competitions must be completed by May 24 before the European Championships.

The idea has been supported by Italian government officials such as Sports Minister Vincenzo Spadafora and Maurizio Casasco, the president of the Italian Federation for Sports Physicians.

The Italian national team is also due to put training on hold at their national training base Coverciano.

Officials have reported that more than 200 people have tested positive for the virus in Italy and there have been five deaths. It is the highest number of cases outside Asia.