Coronavirus continues to wreak havoc for European football

 Spectators who attended the Italian Serie A soccer match between US Lecce and Atalanta on Sunday were pre-measured by health officials in an effort to prevent people potentially carrying the Covid-19 virus from entering the stadium . Picture: Getty Images
Spectators who attended the Italian Serie A soccer match between US Lecce and Atalanta on Sunday were pre-measured by health officials in an effort to prevent people potentially carrying the Covid-19 virus from entering the stadium . Picture: Getty Images

Getafe president Angel Torres said on Tuesday that the Spanish team would not travel to Italy for their Europa League game against Inter Milan this week as the coronavirus crisis escalates.

All sports in Italy have been suspended until April 3, including Serie A football, but Champions League and Europa League matches are under the jurisdiction of Uefa.

Inter Milan are due to host Getafe in the Europa League last 16, the first leg is scheduled to take place at the San Siro on Thursday while Roma welcome Sevilla a week later at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.

“If we have to lose the tie, we will lose it,” Torres told Onda Cero radio.

“We have asked Uefa to look for an alternative to play in Milan. We don’t want to go into the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak.

“Under no circumstances are we going to put our health at risk. Unless things change tomorrow, Getafe will not travel to Italy.”

The Italian and Spanish professional players’ unions issued a joint statement yesterday calling on Uefa to postpone matches between teams from the two countries.

Three matches between Italian and Spanish teams were scheduled this week, with Atalanta beating Valencia 4-3 behind closed doors in Spain yesterday to reach the Champions League quarter-finals.

“Playing a match in Milan in the coming days will endanger the health of many people,” the joint statement read.

“The journeys between Italy and Spain will become more complicated and dangerous in the coming weeks.

“Next week’s return matches are likely to be held under emergency conditions for the two countries.

“We hope that a deep reflection on all the calendars of European competitions will be made in the light of the information which is getting worse by the hour.”

Italy has restricted movement for its 60 million citizens as the nation grapples to contain a disease which has killed 631, with 168 new deaths recorded yesterday, the country’s highest single-day toll, and has infected more than 10 000.

Spain has more than 1 600 cases and 36 deaths.

Many airlines are suspending flights to Italy for the next few weeks.

There are no direct flights between Spain and Italy from today until March 25. - Sport24


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