Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte has approved the Italian National Olympic Committee’s (CONI) decision to suspend all sporting events in Italy until April 3 after putting the entire country on lockdown following the coronavirus outbreak.
All sport had already been required to take place behind closed doors until April following a previous government decree, but CONI announced new measures on Monday following a significant increase in cases.
Conte confirmed CONI’s decision will be implemented, with the prime minister announcing the suspension of Serie A and all sporting events as he extended the restriction of movement to the nation’s entire population, having previously only been in place for specific so-called “red zones”.
All public gatherings have banned other than for work or emergency purposes, with a total of 9,172 people infected as of Monday.
“There is no more time, the numbers tell us there is a significant increase in the contagion, in intensive care and deaths,” Conte said in a news 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.”
It is unclear what this will mean for Champions League and Europa League matches involving Italian teams.
UEFA is yet to postpone any matches, but it did confirm on Monday Roma’s upcoming Europa League contest with Sevilla at Stadio Olimpico on March 19 will be played behind closed doors.
Another UEFA competition, Euro 2020, is due to begin in Rome on June 12.