All sports in Italy were expected to be halted because of the coronavirus outbreak, including games in the country’s top soccer division and preparatory events for the Tokyo Olympics.
The Italian Olympic Committee, which oversees all sporting events in the country, said in a statement that the suspension will last until April 3 and that it would request a government decree to impose its decision.
Events around the world have been affected by the spreading virus, including Champions League soccer matches and Japan’s professional baseball season
In Italy, about 16m people have been put under a widespread lockdown in the northern part of the country.
Italy’s top soccer division had resumed on Sunday with five games played in empty stadiums. Twelve rounds remain, with eight-time defending champion Juventus holding a one-point lead over Lazio.
Serie A has not been canceled since World War II.
The announcement from the Italian Olympic Committee, which is known as CONI, came minutes before Sassuolo was to host Brescia in a soccer match. The match began as scheduled.
CONI said its decision does not include international competition “for clubs or national teams,” since it does not govern those. Juventus, Napoli and Atalanta are each competing in the Champions League, while Inter Milan and Roma are still in the Europa League.
Earlier, the Italian swimming federation said it was withdrawing its teams from international events.
The Tokyo Games are scheduled to begin in 4½ months. More than 300 Italian athletes qualified for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
In France, police said that the Champions League match between Paris Saint-Germain and Borussia Dortmund at Parc des Princes will be played without fans.
It is the second of the four matches in the competition this week to be played in an empty stadium. Spanish authorities previously recommended restrictions on games involving teams from areas in Italy with high numbers of virus cases and said the Valencia-Atalanta match today will take place without fans in attendance.
Tomorrow’s game in Paris will be the first match with no fans at the Parc des Princes in 10 years.
The last time it happened, in March 2010, the decision was taken following crowd trouble during a match between PSG and French rival Marseille.
- The Indian Wells tournament has been cancelled because of concerns about the spread of coronavirus.
The tournament, a combined ATP and WTA event which is one of the biggest and most prestigious outside of the Grand Slams, was due to start this week. Health officials in California said there was “too great a risk” to hold a “large gathering of this size”.
“Many of the world’s leading players, including men’s world number two Rafael Nadal, have already arrived in California for the event.