Coronavirus: Parma v SPAL kicks off 75 minutes late amid calls for Serie A suspension

The match is taking place behind closed doors

Parma’s Serie A tie against SPAL kicked off 75 minutes late after Italy’s sports minister requested the league was suspended with immediate effect because of the coronavirus outbreak.

The match was due to kick off at 12:30 local time (11:30 GMT) but players were told to return to the dressing room from the tunnel.

It eventually got under way at 13:45 local time (12:45 GMT).

On Sunday, up to 16m people were placed in quarantine in Italy.

Italy has seen the largest number of coronavirus cases in Europe and reported a steep rise in infections on Saturday.

The death toll in Italy has passed 230, with officials reporting more than 36 deaths in 24 hours. The number of confirmed cases jumped by more than 1,200 to 5,883 on Saturday.

Last week, Italy’s government said all sport in the country would be played behind closed doors until 3 April.

On Saturday Damiano Tommasi, the president of Italy’s players’ union (AIC), called for football to be suspended in the country.

In a statement, he said: “There is a risk for players and we must take all precautions for the security of those who play: on the pitch you certainly can’t stay at a distance of one metre away.

“But every measure must be taken to guarantee the safety of everyone at the stadium, including staff and personnel, to reduce the risks.

“There are those among the players who are happy to continue, others who express their concerns.

“There are many foreign players too and it’s obvious their families will be worried watching what’s happening in Italy.”

Four other Serie A matches are due to take place on Sunday, including Juventus versus Inter Milan (19:45 GMT), while Sassuolo’s match against Brescia on Monday (17:30 GMT) is also due to go ahead.

BBC News

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