Serie A to resume with last weekend’s postponed matches

<p>
              In this Feb. 27, 2020, file photo, a general view inside the empty San Siro stadium in Milan, Italy during the Europa League round of 32 second leg soccer match between Inter Milan and Ludogorets. Inter beat Ludogorets 2-1 in an empty stadium as a precaution because of the virus outbreak in Italy. (Emilio Andreoli, UEFA via AP)
            </p>

MILAN (AP) — The Italian soccer league will resume in full this weekend in empty stadiums, starting with the matches that were postponed last round because of the virus outbreak in Italy — including the potential title decider between Juventus and Inter Milan.

The revised Serie A calendar was announced on Thursday and followed the previous day’s decree from the Italian government that all sporting events in Italy must take place without spectators until April 3.

Six matches were postponed last week, including the Juventus-Inter game — one of the biggest matches of the season known as the “Derby d’Italia,” or Italy’s derby.

That match will be played on Sunday at 8:45 p.m. local time (1945 GMT).

Sunday’s other matches are: Parma vs. Spal, AC Milan vs. Genoa, Sampdoria vs. Hellas Verona and Udinese vs. Fiorentina. The game between Sassuolo and Brescia will take place Monday.

The remainder of the Serie A calendar will likely be pushed back a week.

Italy is the epicenter of Europe’s coronavirus outbreak. More than 100 people have died and more than 3,000 have been infected with COVID-19, mainly in the north of the country.

Thursday’s announcement ended more than a week of uncertainty about when the 26th round of matches were going to be played.

After initially deciding that games last weekend could be held in empty stadiums, Serie A then announced hours before kickoff that the matches would be postponed until May.

That sparked controversy and fierce debate and Inter president Steven Zhang is facing disciplinary action for insulting Serie A president Paolo Dal Pino in an Instagram post reacting to the way the Italian league was handling the fallout from the virus outbreak

The new schedule was issued less than 48 hours before the first match of the 27th round was due to kick off.

Four Serie A matches went ahead last weekend as they were taking place in areas that had not been affected by measures to control the outbreak.

Lazio beat Bologna 2-0 on Saturday to move top of the league, two points above Juventus and eight points above Inter, which also had its previous match against Sampdoria postponed.

No new date has yet been decided for the Inter match, with Antonio Conte’s side still in the Europa League and the Italian Cup.

Three other matches were postponed two weekend ago and will be played on March 18.

New dates for the Italian Cup semifinals have also yet to be announced.

UEFA confirmed on Thursday that next week’s Champions League match between Valencia and Atalanta in Spain will also be played without fans, as will Inter’s home match against Getafe in the Europa League.

Inter played Ludogrets inside an empty stadium last week in the previous Europa League round.