Juventus vs. Inter 1 of 6 Serie A Games Behind Closed Doors Due to Coronavirus

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistFebruary 25, 2020

TURIN, ITALY - NOVEMBER 26:  A general view inside the stadium prior to the UEFA Champions League group D match between Juventus and Atletico Madrid at Allianz Stadium on November 26, 2019 in Turin, Italy.  (Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images)
Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

Italian Minster of Sports Vincenzo Spadafora has confirmed six Serie A matches will be played behind closed doors during Week 26 following the recent coronavirus outbreak in the country's northern regions.

Organisers have made the decision to play fixtures despite concerns regarding the spread of COVID-19, the specific type of coronavirus that reportedly originated in China.

Spadafora told Tg2 (h/t Football Italia) that six of the 10 Serie A matches scheduled to take place in Week 26 will be held without fans in attendance, including Sunday's clash between Juventus and Inter Milan:

"Measures are already in force, that prohibit any events until next Sunday. Initially for Lombardy, Veneto and Piedmont. Now we have also extended to Friuli Venezia Giulia, Emilia Romagna and Liguria.

"In these regions, the prohibition of sporting events remains, for some events we have given the availability to carry them out behind closed doors."

Udinese will play Fiorentina behind closed doors in the only Saturday fixture to be impacted. Three other Sunday games will be played in empty stadia: AC Milan vs. Genoa, Parma vs. SPAL and Sassuolo vs. Brescia, as well as Monday's fixture between Sampdoria and Hellas Verona.

Spadafora added the remaining Serie A fixtures will continue as planned, explaining the measure "has not been extended to the rest of Italy because the conditions for taking serious measures do not exist."

That means Lazio will host Bologna as planned, while Napoli's home fixture against Torino continues uninterrupted on Saturday. Lecce's meeting with Atalanta and Cagliari's clash against AS Roma in Sardinia—both on Sunday—will also each be open to the public.

Inter announced on Monday that their second-leg meeting with Ludogorets Razgrad in the UEFA Europa League round of 32 on Thursday will be behind closed doors because of the outbreak:

Inter's game against Sampdoria on Sunday was one of four Serie A games postponed as fears over the spread of the virus grew.

Mark Lowen of BBC News wrote that 50,000 people have been quarantined in the 11 towns closed off following the outbreak, with seven people in Italy having died as a result of the respiratory infection thus far.

Rich Hall of Football Italia gave Love Sport Radio an update on the sporting implications prior to today's news:

Juve hold a one-point lead over Lazio at the top of Serie A. Inter are a further five points adrift, although they have a game in hand.

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