The second leg of the semifinals will be off limits to residents of the regions of Lombardy, which contains Milan, and Emilia Romagna and Veneto, plus the provinces of Pesaro, Urbino and Savona — the areas hardest hit by the COVID-19 virus.
Juventus made the announcement on Monday, asking fans to show up early so their identification cards can be checked carefully. The first leg ended 1-1. No such ban has yet been put in place for the other semifinal match between Napoli and Inter Milan at San Paolo Stadium in southern Italy.
A total of 10 Serie A matches in Italy have been postponed over the past two weekends because of the virus. Lombardy has been the epicenter of Italy’s outbreak, registering the first positive test of the northern cluster and now counting 984 of Italy’s 1,694 cases.
Meanwhile, German media reported that a local soccer fan is suspected of infecting people in Salzburg with the virus while traveling there for last week’s Salzburg-Eintracht Frankfurt game in the Europa League. It was unclear if the person actually attended the game, which was postponed for 24 hours because of bad weather.
Also, the International Biathlon Union announced that a World Cup in the Czech Republic will take place without spectators. The races in Nove Mesto, due to run from Thursday through Sunday, would likely have attracted 100,000 people.
Five-time Olympic gold medalist Martin Fourcade questioned why spectators were banned without similar restrictions for athletes and teams, “in spite of the fact we were all in Italy less than 14 days ago” at the world championships.
In Switzerland, where the federal government has prohibited events of more than 1,000 people, the ice hockey league decided on Monday to suspend play for two weeks. Playoffs were to begin in the top two divisions this weekend. The 24 clubs agreed at an emergency meeting to suspend all games until the current federal order expires on March 15.
In tennis, the Kunming Open in Anning, China, scheduled for April 27-May 3 was canceled. Another WTA tournament scheduled for earlier in April in Xi’an, China, had already been canceled. Baseball's final qualifying event for the Tokyo Olympics was postponed from April to June in Taiwan; while MotoGP organizers canceled the first two races of their season in Qatar and Thailand because of travel restrictions introduced amid the virus outbreak.
The International Ski Federation said it will wait until Friday before deciding if the World Cup finals in Cortina d'Ampezzo — in the hard-hit Veneto region — could go forward or not. The Six Nations said the scheduled fixtures in its remaining two rounds this month will go ahead, including Italy's match against England in Rome on March 14. However, the equivalent women's and under-20 fixtures in Italy may be relocated.
Italy's visit to Ireland this Saturday is the only match which has been postponed because of the virus.
AP Sports Writer James Ellingworth in Düsseldorf, Germany, contributed to this report.
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