BARCELONA (Reuters) – La Liga matches will be played without fans for at least the next two rounds of fixtures to try and stop the spread of the coronavirus, the Spanish league said on Tuesday.
Barcelona also said its Champions League clash with Napoli next week will be played behind closed doors, while Valencia’s game with Atalanta will also take place without any supporters.
The decision was taken in conjunction with the Spanish government’s sports council (CSD)’s decision that professional and non-professional sports events and competitions should take place behind closed doors.
“According to information from the High Council of sports, La Liga Santander and La Liga SmartBank (second division) matches will be played behind closed doors, starting today (March 10) and for at least the next two weeks,” La Liga said in a statement.
“La Liga will continue to be in permanent contact with the Ministry of Health and the CSD to follow its recommendations and/or decisions, prioritising the health of fans, players, club employees, journalists etc. due to the COVID-19 health crisis.
“For weeks, La Liga has been working on alternative plans in coordination with UEFA in case health authorities decide to suspend any match, creating a plan to play these matches.”
The first match affected is the clash between Eibar and Real Sociedad later on Tuesday at Ipurua Municipal Stadium, a game already postponed from Feb. 16 because of air contamination.
If the measure is not extended, the next round of matches with supporters will take place on the weekend of April 4-5.
(Editing by Andrew Heavens and Pritha Sarkar)
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