The Italian Olympic Committee announced Monday that the country has suspended all sports in the country — behind closed doors or otherwise — until April 3, the latest and most dramatic step taken in the sporting world to curtail the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The committee, which oversees all sports in the country, said in a statement that "all sports activities at all levels are suspended" until April 3, asking the Italian government to issue a decree to that effect.
The decision figures to impact everything from the country's top professional soccer league, Serie A, to recreational sports leagues in the country.
Italy had previously mandated that professional sporting events be carried out without fans present, leading to an eerie scene over the weekend in which one of the country's most intense soccer rivalries, between Inter Milan and Juventus, was contested in a nearly empty stadium.
There were more than 5,800 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, or COVID-19, in Italy as of Sunday — the most in Europe, according to statistics from the World Health Organization. The disease has killed at least 234 people there and more than 3,500 total around the world.
In the United States, there have been more than 200 confirmed cases — and an ongoing spread might soon cause more significant impacts in American sports. The annual tennis tournament in Indian Wells, California, was canceled Sunday night because of the virus. Baseball players have been instructed not to sign autographs, and the NBA has warned its teams to prepare for the possibility of playing games without fans.
Contact Tom Schad at [email protected] or on Twitter @Tom_Schad.
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