Valencia vs. Atalanta UCL Match Closed to Fans Amid Coronavirus Concerns

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistMarch 4, 2020

MILAN, ITALY - FEBRUARY 19: Josip Ilicic of Atalanta (R) plays against Eliaquim Mangala of Valencia (L) during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg match between Atalanta and Valencia CF at San Siro Stadium on February 19, 2020 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Marcio Machado/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images)
Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images

Valencia's upcoming UEFA Champions League clash with Atalanta will take place behind closed doors because of fears over the coronavirus spreading. 

Per Football Italia, local authorities in Spain have decided not to let any fans attend Tuesday's match. The basketball contest between Valencia and Armani Milano will also take place behind closed doors.

Regional Minister for Public Health Ana Barcelo explained the decision: "The decision to play behind closed doors at the Mestalla is final and irrevocable. It is not an issue of controlling those who enter the stadium. It is a public health issue that applies to all."

Italy has been hit hard by the virus, with over 3,000 confirmed cases already, per the New York Times. The Italian government has decided to close all sporting events to the public for the foreseeable future as a result, per Football Italia. It also means that some of the world's biggest one-day cycling events, like Milan-San Remo and the Strade Bianchi, are in danger of not going ahead:

Atalanta play their domestic football in Bergamo, while their Champions League matches have taken place at the legendary San Siro stadium in Milan. Both cities lie in the Lombardy region, which is among those hit the hardest by the virus.

According to Eurosport's Siavoush Fallahi, the UEFA Europa League clash between Getafe and Inter Milan will also be played in an empty stadium:

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Atalanta beat Valencia 4-1 in the first leg of their Champions League tie, their first-ever appearance in the knockout stages:

The Italian minnows have been among Europe's most entertaining teams this season, despite their minuscule budget in comparison to the competition's elite. In Serie A, they lead the scoring charts with 70 goals in 25 matches, having scored 21 more goals than defending champions Juventus.

Valencia will be gunning for a miracle comeback at the Mestalla stadium. They have just one win in their last six matches across all competitions, failing to keep a clean sheet in any of those outings.