Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte has announced that Serie A is suspended indefinitely as the country continues to struggle to contain the spread of Covid-19.
With latest figures revealing 463 people had died from coronavirus from a total of 9,172 infections, the Italian government has put the country in lockdown.
The measures, which had already been in place in Italy’s north, include banning public gatherings and restricting all movement other than for work and emergency services.
Serie A has had several matches recently behind closed doors, including the Derby D’Italia between Juventus and Inter, but the new restrictions will make the competition impossible to continue.
“There is no more time, the numbers tell us there is a significant increase in the contagion, in intensive care and the deaths,” Conte told a press conference. “Our habits have to change, we must sacrifice something for the good of all of Italy. This is why we will adopt even more stringent measures.”
“I will sign the new decree, which can be summed up with the phrase ‘I am staying at home.’ There are no more red zones, there is just an Italy that is protected.
“We must avoid travel unless for proven work reasons, health reasons or other necessities. We ban large public gatherings.
“We also have more stringent measures in mind for sporting events. Serie A and all sporting tournaments in general are suspended. All the fans must accept that.”
Italy’s new conditions will come into effect on Tuesday morning and affect the country’s 60 million population.
The banning of public gatherings will include all sport events and public events, closing theatres and cinemas, gyms, drinking venues, funerals and weddings.
Football has been significantly affected by coronavirus with several upcoming European ties to be played behind closed doors this week.
The second leg of the Champions League blockbuster between PSG and Dortmund in France will go ahead without supporters, while clashes between Sevilla-Roma, Olympiacos-Wolves and Valencia-Atalanta will also see fans locked out.
The future of Euro 2020 is also in question but UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin is optimistic about the tournament going ahead.
BREAKING NEWS: Italian Olympic Committee announces that all the sports in Italy will be suspended till April 3, 2020 due to #coronavirus outbreak in the country— Emiliano Carchia (@Carchia) March 9, 2020
“We are dealing with it and we are confident we can deal with it,” Ceferin said.
“You don’t know how many big concerns we have: we have security concerns, political instability and one is also the virus. Let’s try to be optimistic, not think about dark scenarios – there’s time for that later.”