More chaos for Serie A after new decree on virus measures
MILAN (AP) — Italian soccer was thrown further into chaos on Sunday after the government issued a new decree extending the suspension of all sporting events in regions affected by the virus outbreak until March 8.
The ban will affect Serie A matches for the third straight round of fixtures. The matches concerned next weekend are: Atalanta vs. Lazio; Bologna vs. Juventus; Inter Milan vs. Sassuolo; and Hellas Verona vs. Napoli.
Governing body Lega Serie A announced earlier on Sunday that it has called an emergency assembly for Wednesday to “examine the consequences the governmental measures related to coronavirus have had on the fixture list.”
The total number of people infected with the new coronavirus in Italy has risen to 1,694, a 50% jump from just 24 hours earlier. Five more people infected with the virus have died, bringing the deaths in Italy to 34.
Lombardy, which includes Milan, accounts for over half of the cases, while Veneto and Emilia-Romagna have 15% and 17%, respectively.
All three regions have had the ban on sporting activities extended. Schools will also be closed for at least another week.
Four matches from last weekend were postponed and six from this weekend.
The six from the latest round were first set to be played behind closed doors before it was decided to postpone them until May 13, much to the consternation of several clubs.
There is little time for make-up dates considering all elite soccer competitions must be completed by May 24 because of the upcoming European Championship.
Juventus, Napoli and Atalanta are currently involved in the Champions League, while Inter and Roma are in the Europa League.
Juventus, Inter, Napoli and AC Milan are also in the Italian Cup semifinals, which are due to be played on Wednesday and Thursday in Turin and Naples. The ban on sporting events was set to end in Turin on Sunday, while there had never been a suspension imposed in Naples, which is in the south of Italy.