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Coronavirus: Italy's sports minister says 'no sense' for football to continue



Football in Italy should be suspended and currently "makes no sense" for it to continue amid the increased risk of coronavirus, says the country's sports minister Vincenzo Spadafora.

Last week, Italy's government said all sport in the country would be played behind closed doors until 3 April.

But Spadafora supported calls from the president of Italy's players' union (AIC) for football to be suspended.

The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) is to hold a meeting on Tuesday.

On Sunday, up to 16 million people were placed in quarantine in Italy and the country has seen the largest number of coronavirus cases in Europe, with a reported steep rise in infections on Saturday.

The number of people to have died from the coronavirus in Italy increased by 133 in a day to 366, officials said on Sunday.

The total number of infections in the country leapt 25% to 7,375 from 5,883, according to the Civil Protection agency.

Spadafora said in a statement: "It does not make sense at this moment to endanger the health of footballers, referees, technicians and supporters who will surely gather to watch the matches, only to not temporarily suspend football and affect the interests that revolve around it.

"Other federations wisely opted for a stop for the next few days. I believe it is the duty of the president of the FIGC without waiting for the first case of [player] contagion."

On Saturday, AIC president Damiano Tommasi initially called for a suspension of football saying there is "a risk for players" and "we must take all precautions".

Parma's Serie A match against SPAL kicked off 75 minutes late after Spadafora requested the league was suspended with immediate effect.


In England, sports governing bodies and broadcasters have been called to a government meeting on Monday to discuss the staging of events behind closed doors if the coronavirus outbreak worsens.

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