All Serie A in Italy called off – but Ronaldo’s Champions League dream will continue

All sporting events in Italy will be suspended until April 3 due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

The ban includes Serie A – Italy’s top football league – but at this stage does not include Italian clubs participating in the continental competitions: the Champions League and Europa League.

Matches such as Juventus’s Champions League round-of-16 second leg against Lyon next Wednesday (AEDT) are expected to go ahead in empty stadiums.

Inter Milan and Roma also have Europa League games scheduled this week, with both also set to be played without fans.

Italy prime minister Giuseppe Conte declared: “There won’t be just a red zone,” expanding the lockdown from the country’s north to the entirety of Italy.

“There is no reason why matches and sporting events should continue and I am thinking of the football championship.”

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Five Serie A matches took place over the weekend behind closed doors, with Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juventus claiming a 2-0 win over title rivals Inter Milan. But the future of the competition has now been placed into serious doubt.

His announcement banned all public gatherings across Italy, the country worst affected of all European nations.

Italy also reported a significant rise in the number of people who tested positive for the virus, with the total now 9,172 cases and 463 deaths, more than any country except China.

Football leagues across Europe are considering playing matches behind closed doors, with France’s Ligue 1 expected to shortly ban fans for a month.

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