In the recent times, the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak has caused a major disruption in sporting events across the world. The virus, originated in the city of Wuhan in China, has found its way into other countries, and in Europe, its Italy which has been affected the most. The country’s most prestigious football league, the Serie A, has been called off, an incident which occurred after a gap of 78 years, since it was first cancelled in 1942 during World War 2.
As of today, 463 people in Italy have died from the virus, along with 9,172 people who have been infected. With the entire country on lock down, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte officially announced yesterday that Serie A will be on a temporary hault.
“Serie A and all sporting tournaments in general are suspended. All the fans must accept that. There is no reason for these competitions to continue.” Conte said at a press conference on Monday night as quoted by Football Italia.
The recent league games has seen empty stands in the stadium, as was the situation in Allianz Stadium last night as Juventus defeated Inter 2-0. Aaron Ramsay and Paulo Dybala had no supporters in the stadium to celebrate their goals.
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As of now, Serie A and Serie B has been suspended for a month until April 3, as it was decided by the Italian National Olympic Committee’s (CONI) yesterday.
With all other football tournaments also suspended in the country, this will have an impact on the UEFA Champions League matches to be hosted in Italy this month, such as Juventus who are scheduled to take on Lyon on March 17.
Prime Minister Conte has also asked the 60 million Italian citizens to avoid travel and large public gatherings.
“There is no more time, the numbers tell us there is a significant increase in the contagion, in intensive care and the deaths. 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,” Conte added.
Last week, Inter donated €100,000 to the Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences at the Sacco Hospital in Milan to coronavirus research and aid in combatting the outbreak of the virus.
Following the announcement of the lock down, AC Milan has joined up with its charity foundation Fondazione Milan to donate €250,000 as emergency support. The joint donation will be granted to Lombardy government’s emergency arm AREU.