FILE PHOTO – A cleaner wearing a protective suit sanitises seats at the San Paolo stadium ahead of the second leg of the Coppa Italia semi-final between Napoli and Inter Milan, which has since been postponed as part of measures to contain the coronavirus outbreak, in Naples, Italy, March 4, 2020. REUTERS/Ciro De Luca

MILAN (Reuters) – Italy’s Sport Minister Vincenzo Spadafora asked the national soccer association to consider stopping top division Serie A matches after the country ordered a virtual lockdown across a swathe of its wealthy north to tackle the coronavirus outbreak.

Until now Italy’s soccer association FIGC has said Serie A matches could be played without spectators, adding that any events would be stopped should any player test positive for the virus.

In a post on his Facebook account Spadafora said it did not make sense to put players, referees and fans at risk while the authorities were asking citizens to make “huge sacrifices” to stem the contagion.

(Reporting by Francesca Landini, editing by Louise Heavens)

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