Five Serie A matches scheduled for this weekend have been postponed due to the spread of the coronavirus in Italy, with the crunch top-of-the-table clash between Inter and Juventus among them.
All of the games had been scheduled to take place behind closed doors after the government banned public gatherings in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus. However, in a statement released on Saturday morning, Serie A officials said the five affected matches have all now been rescheduled for Wednesday 13 May.
The other fixtures are Udinese v Fiorentina, Milan v Genoa, Parma v Spal and Sassuolo v Brescia. Reuters reported that a football official, speaking off the record, said broadcasters and fans did not want the matches to be played in empty stadiums.
Nearly 900 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in Italy, with cafes and schools closed as daily life has ground to a halt.
This weekend’s matches in the top two divisions in Switzerland had already been postponed after the government banned events involving more than 1,000 people.
Fifa president Gianni Infantino promised on Friday to do whatever is necessary to help combat the continued spread of the virus. Speaking in Belfast ahead of the annual general meeting of the International Football Association Board, Infantino said: “The health of persons is much more important than any football game. That’s why we have to look at the situation and hope that it will decrease rather than increase. At the moment it looks like it is still increasing. If games have to be postponed or played without spectators until it is over, then we have to go through that.”
Elsewhere, Danish cyclist Michael Morkov has been cleared to race at the UCI Track Cycling World Championships after two individuals suspected of having the coronavirus at the UAE Tour tested negative. Morkov, 34, spent 34 hours in isolation in Berlin after travelling to the German capital from the UAE Tour, where he raced the opening four stages.
The final two stages of that race were cancelled on Thursday night when two members of staff on the race developed symptoms suggesting they could have the virus, and riders and staff on the race remain under lockdown in Abu Dhabi. But, after the Abu Dhabi Department of Health issued a statement on Saturday saying the first 167 tests had come back negative, the UCI said Morkov was free to race as normal in Berlin.