Coronavirus: Serie A ‘likely’ to play behind closed doors for one month, says Italy sports minister

Italian sports minister Vincenzo Spadafora says the government is likely to order all Serie A games to be played behind closed doors for the next month due to the coronavirus outbreak.

“We are heading towards that decision,” Spadafora told reporters outside the Italian government’s Rome headquarters of Palazzo Chigi, as ministers gathered for an emergency summit.

“We will continue all activities, and so will the league, but we will respect public health.”

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The Italian FA has ordered both Coppa Italia semi-finals, Juventus vs AC Milan and Napoli vs Inter Milan, to be postponed this week.

Eight Serie A fixures have been postponed over the past two weeks, including a top-of-the-table clash between Juventus and Inter Milan originally scheduled to take place on Sunday evening.

Representatives from the 20 Serie A clubs were due to meet 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, AC 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.

Therefore, assembly counsellor Paolo Scaroni confirmed to Sky in Italy that Serie A “will abide by the government’s decisions”, with ministers meeting on Wednesday at Palazzo Chigi to decide on the new measures to be introduced nationwide.

Until now, Serie A chiefs have preferred to postpone matches rather than play behind closed doors – but with an already crowded fixture list, the league is running out of dates for rescheduled matches and has been under pressure from clubs to make a decision.

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