Italy’s Six Nations clash with England is in doubt after the Italian government ordered the match to be played behind closed doors due to coronavirus.
The March 14 game could be postponed with Six Nations officials due to hold talks with Italian and English unions on Thursday morning, after all other sporting events in Italy were banned until April 3 on Wednesday.
It would be the second match at the tournament to be postponed after Ireland’s match with Italy, which was scheduled to take place this weekend in Dublin.
England are also set to play in Italy in the women’s Six Nations on Sunday, March 15.
Italy sports minister Vincenzo Spadafora had earlier said on Wednesday he wanted sport to go on.
The decision will also affect two Pro 14 matches, 32 Serie A football matches, and Juventus’ Champions League last-16 second leg with Lyon which is scheduled for March 17 in Turin.
Serie A impact
Serie A is likely to resume in full this weekend after just four matches took place last weekend with fans present as they were taking place in areas that had not been affected by measures to control the outbreak.
Representatives from the 20 Serie A clubs met on Wednesday at the Italian Olympic Committee’s headquarters at the Foro Italico in Rome to debate on the plan of action for all top-flight games affected by the coronavirus outbreak.
However, only eight clubs – Inter, Juventus, Milan, Roma, Sassuolo, Udinese, Lazio, Fiorentina and Atalanta – sent club representatives to the assembly, six clubs short of the minimum number of representatives legally required for the assembly to take place, meaning they would have to abide by the government’s decision.
Inter Milan CEO Giuseppe Marotta was in favour of playing matches behind closed doors as it would preserve the regular course of the season.
“It’s a very tough moment, our goal is to carry out the season with the maximum uniformity, without creating any imbalance,” Marotta told Sky in Italy reporters hours before the decision was made.
“We’re going through days of big changes. To play behind closed doors could be the only tool to finish the season in light of the restrictions that the government is rightly pointing out to us.”
Davis Cup impact
In tennis, Italy is set to play South Korea in a Davis Cup qualifier this weekend in Cagliari, Sardinia.
World No 11 Fabio Fognini is expected to lead his country in the ‘World Cup of Tennis’ at the Circolo Tennis Cagliari.
There are more than 3,000 coronavirus cases in Italy and more than 100 deaths.
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