Paulo Dybala, February 16, 2020 in Turin. - Nicolò Campo / Sipa USA / SIPA
A distant F1 Grand Prix in the Chinese Super League soccer calendar and matches. Until then, the Coronavirus had only had a very minor impact on the international sports season. But the appearance of the virus in Italy in recent days, with 220 people infected since Friday, has drastically accelerated the concern. Four games postponed in Series A, including that of Inter Sunday evening, and a few panicked articles here and there. Our colleagues from ESPN, in particular, who evoke extensive medical examinations for the Barça players upon their arrival in Naples for the round of 16 first leg of the Champions League in a region where no case has yet been detected.
🌡️ La afición del Barça pasa el control del coronavirus al llegar a Italia
📍 Allí tenemos a @sergisoleMD y @perepunti https://t.co/m6lVgF5rEX pic.twitter.com/emndLYaf67
Juve-Inter behind closed doors in Italy?
A little oversold in fact. Like all travelers who disembark at Capodichino Airport, the players underwent a simple check of their body temperature using a thermometer placed on the forehead in two seconds maximum. Formality also shipped directly on the plane that transported the Catalan players and their staff. Sorry for our Madrid or Neapolitan readers, whom we know to be many, but it's still a little early to imagine Messi with 40 of fever in a hospital bed.
Same for CR7, which is not a priori part of the four people infected in Piedmont. A limited figure but sufficient for the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) to order the postponement until further order of sporting events organized in the regions of Lombardy, Veneto, and Piedmont, recommendation immediately followed by the Federation Italian football. Luckily, the first round of the 8th final between Ol and Juventus does not take place in Italy, where several media advance with almost certainty that the shock between the leader of Séria A and Inter Milan, scheduled next Sunday in Turin, is expected to be played behind closed doors, like all games scheduled in the affected regions. Information confirmed in half-words by the president of Juve Andrea Agnelli, on a local radio:
“For the moment, the country's priority is the protection of public health. All our determination must be concentrated in the protection of public health. The debate can be opened, but postponing matches indefinitely seems difficult, the calendar is blocked. Starting the championship late and not playing during the Christmas holidays means that if you miss a game, it becomes difficult to recover. Organizing a match like Juventus-Inter in another stadium is complicated. Sorry for the show itself, sorry for the fairness of the Italian championship, but the only priority here is public health. "
3,000 Turin supporters expected in Lyon
No word on the other hand on Wednesday's match at Parc OL, for which 2,500 to 3,000 juventini supporters must make the trip. Several transalpine media worried to see a bus carrying travelers from Milan held for several hours at Perrache station, but on the Lyon side, it was said Sunday evening that they had received "no instructions or restrictions from the Quai d'Orsay or of UEFA ”concerning the management of the tifosi of Juve. Very discreet so far, the organizer of the competition has explained to our colleagues in the Team "closely monitor the situation and be in contact with the responsible authorities" without further details. "The major sports institutions, such as FIFA or CIO, are the last to speak in these cases, they comply with the requirements of the legislator but do not take initiatives," explains Michael Tapiro, expert in sport-business. Having the anthem of the Champions League behind closed doors, it would not give a damn, but it is quite possible. "
Passengers of the Flixbus coming from Milan, blocked in the Lyon Perrache station since this morning because of a suspicion of cases of coronavirus, leave gradually. @ 20Minutes #coronavirus #Lyon pic.twitter.com/ZqszBoyFU0- Jérémy Laugier (@JeremyLaugier) February 24, 2020
If the virus continues to spread in Italy, it is difficult to imagine anything else for the return, scheduled for March 17. The match between Inter and Ludogorets, Thursday, in the return leg of the Europa League, will take place in an empty San Siro. It sounds like the least bad solution. The Celtic Rugby League did not hesitate to postpone two matches scheduled for next weekend in Parma and Treviso, while Mauro Vegni, the boss of Italian cycling, did not hide his concern then that the transalpine races traditionally open the European season until the Giro.
"We are very worried about the spread of the epidemic because the situation in Italy is really difficult. Our first concerns are Tirreno-Adriatico and especially Milan-Sanremo, which are scheduled in less than a month. There is no Plan B for the latter. If the government confirmed the blocking of sport in Milan and Lombardy, it would have to be canceled. It would not make sense to move the start 20 or 50 kilometers. I hope the peak of contamination will drop. For the moment, I cannot say anything about the Tour of Italy, but it is clear that if the peak does not diminish, the risks so that it cannot take place are very present. "
An alarmist observation that can potentially be extended to Euro 2020, which will take place for the first time jointly in a dozen European countries. Will all the supporters' trips that the competition will involve in June be assumed if the Covid-19 progresses within European borders? Unlikely. "It is not excluded that certain countries must withdraw from the competition," concludes Michael Tapiro. But it is unlikely that the Euro will be canceled. Or else, it is that the virus is completely out of control. In these cases, the sport will seem secondary.
VIDEO. Coronavirus: Why the situation in Italy worries so much
Coronavirus: Passengers in a coach coming from Italy confined to Perrache station in Lyon
- Turin juventus