Multiple Champions League Matches to Be Behind Closed Doors Due to Coronavirus

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 10, 2020

BARCELONA, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 27: General view inside the stadium as the sun sets ahead of the UEFA Champions League group F match between FC Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund at Camp Nou on November 27, 2019 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
David Ramos/Getty Images

Barcelona have confirmed the second leg of their UEFA Champions League tie with Napoli on March 18 will be played behind closed doors at the Camp Nou to guard against the spread of coronavirus.

The Catalan giants announced the news on Tuesday:

FC Barcelona @FCBarcelona

The Champions League match scheduled for Wednesday, March 18, between FC Barcelona and Napoli, will be played at Camp Nou behind closed doors. https://t.co/4uceIGrobY

The Independent also reported that Chelsea's trip to Bayern Munich's Allianz Arena on March 18 will be held behind closed doors after the Bavarian state banned gatherings exceeding 1,000 people.

On Monday, Germany confirmed its first two deaths from 1,139 confirmed cases of the coronavirus.

Valencia's clash with Atalanta in the Champions League and the match between Inter Milan and Getafe in the UEFA Europa League will also be played without fans present. 

Barca's La Liga clash at Real Mallorca is likely to be played behind closed doors too, along with the rest of La Liga's fixture list, per football journalist Dermot Corrigan:

Dermot Corrigan @dermotmcorrigan

Spanish government expected to announce today that La Liga games from this weekend all behind closed doors. RFEF planning on postponing all Basque Copa del Rey final towards end of season, when hopefully can be played in Sevilla with fans as planned.

The Italian government placed the country in a nationwide lockdown on Monday after the death toll from the coronavirus, known officially as COVID-19, rose by 97 to 463.

Only China, where the virus was first discovered, has been hit worse by the outbreak.

As a result of the emergency measures, public gatherings have been banned and sporting events are suspended.

Barcelona and Napoli played out a 1-1 draw at the Stadio San Paolo in late February in the first leg.

The Catalan giants are bidding to win their first Champions League title since 2015.