All sport in Italy to be suspended due to coronavirus outbreak

Suspension to include Seria A football matches, but not yet Italian clubs competing in the Champions League

TOPSHOT - Inter Milan and Juventus players compete in an empty stadium due to the novel coronavirus outbreak during the Italian Serie A football match Juventus vs Inter Milan, at the Juventus stadium in Turin on March 8, 2020.  / AFP / Vincenzo PINTO
Powered by automated translation

All sporting activity at all levels in Italy is to be suspended because of the coronavirus until April 3 at the earliest, the Italian national Olympic committee (CONI) has announced.

This will include all matches in Serie A, the country's top-flight football division, but does not cover Italian clubs or national teams competing in international competitions.

Serie A had already said all games would be played behind closed doors until 3 April and all last weekend's games were played without fans present.

CONI, which hosted a special meeting of sporting federations on Monday, said the Italian government is now required to issue a specific prime ministerial decree to confirm the decision and override the current one, which states that games can be played behind closed doors.

At the weekend, Italy's sports minister, Vincenzo Spadafora, accused Serie A of being "irresponsible" for ignoring his calls for football to be suspended because of coronavirus. "The world of football feels immune to rules and sacrifices," he said.

Parma's fixture against SPAL on Sunday kicked off 75 minutes late as they awaited a decision on whether the match would go ahead after Spadafora's comments.