Date: 23rd February 2020 at 6:35pm
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President of the Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI) Giovanni Malago has suggested that Serie A matches could be played behind closed doors in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

At the time of writing there have been 149 confirmed cases of the virus in Italy, with four Serie A games called off on Sunday as a precaution, with schools and universities also closing in the Lombardy, Veneto and Piemonte regions of the country.

“Playing [Serie A] games behind closed doors is one of the options on the table,” Malago told Sky Sport Italia. “But it would be wrong to preempt any decisions.”

The Italian government is considering implementing the move, but there is the issue with Inter having sold 70,000 tickets for their upcoming games, so there is an economic issue, and playing behind closed doors could also cause public order problems.

“There may be issues of public order,” Malago went on. “With the prefectures and law enforcement agencies busy on several fronts.

“The primary interests are the health of the athletes, and all citizens. The objective is to understand how we should act in an efficient manner in order to return things to normal.

“There are logistical and calendar issues, which are secondary with respect to the health issue.

“CONI isn’t in charge of the schedules, but there would certainly be a problem to replay Inter’s matches for example.

“If the Nerazzurri continue in the Coppa Italia and Europa League, then it will be a problem because Serie A and the Coppa Italia have to end before the Euro 2020 training camp starts.”