It’s finally happened. The first major sports league in the world has shut down amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced that Serie A, the country’s highest level soccer league, would be suspending operations until April 3rd. Prime Minister Conte also announced that all sporting events in the country would be suspended due to the coronavirus.
Italy has been ravaged by the virus, recently quarantining almost 10 million people in the northern region. This week, the Prime Minister extended the quarantine to the entire country.
After that decree was announced, the Serie A decision appears to be a no brainer.
“There is no reason why matches and sporting events should continue and I am thinking of the football championship. I’m sorry but all the tifosi (fans) must take note of it,” Conte stated during his dramatic evening address to the nation.
Serie A is the first massive sporting association to shut down in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. They likely won’t be the last. The Champions League announced that the Borussia Dortmund match against Paris-Saint Germain would still be played, but without any fans.
Outside of Europe
Here in the US, four major sports rolled out a policy change that would restrict locker room access to essential team personnel only. The MLB, NBA, MLS, and NHL put out a blanket statement announcing the policy shift.
With the Olympics in Tokyo being held a mere 4 1/2 months from now, the event’s status is becoming questionable. Even more, what of the qualifying events leading up to them? Will they be taking place? Italy has already canceled an Olympic qualifying meet in Riccione, citing the quarantine.
The Italian Olympic Committee stated that they recommended the suspension of all sporting events last week. However, it only goes so far as the leagues they govern over. With Juventus, Napoli and Atalanta in the Champions League and Inter Milan and Roma in the Europa League, it has yet to be decided on what happens outside of Italy.
But one thing is for certain, Italy’s soccer season has been halted, for the near future.
Wash. Your. Hands.
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