CONFIRMED: Italy v England postponed
UPDATE: The Six Nations match between Italy and England on March 14 has officially been postponed by tournament organisers.
According to earlier reports by England-based PA news agency, tournament organisers were faced with the option of playing the game behind closed doors at the Stadio Olimpico or delaying it until later in the year.
Tournament organisers official made the decision to postponed the match.
The news was confirmed via an official statement which read: “Six Nations notes the decree issued by the Italian Government on March 4 with respect to all upcoming sporting events in that country. The decision has now been taken to postpone the three matches between Italy and England (Men’s, Women’s, and U20) set to take place over the weekend of March 13, 14 and 15, with the intention to reschedule them at later dates.
“Based on the information that is currently available, all other Six Nations matches are set to go ahead as scheduled. As previously stated, Six Nations fully intends to complete all 15 games across all three championships when time allows. We will refrain from making any rescheduling announcements while we keep assessing the situation.
“Six Nations will continue to monitor developments with our unions and their respective governments and health authorities. We remain fully supportive of any preventative measures taken in the interests of overall public health in relation to the Coronavirus and we will respect instructions provided by government authorities and health organisations,”
The announcement follows the publication of a new Italian government decree that has ordered all sporting events to take place without fans until April 3 due to the Coronavirus outbreak.
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Italy ordered that all major sporting events be held behind closed doors until April 3 as the country grapples with the Coronavirus outbreak.
The measure was announced as the Italian government stepped up its response to an epidemic that has killed 107 people and infected more than 3,000 others in Italy in the past two weeks.
In a decree released on Wednesday, the government states that “all sporting events and competitions of all types, whether private or public” can proceed “in sports facilities behind closed doors – namely in the open air but without the presence of the public”.
This week’s Italian Cup semi-finals – Juventus against AC Milan in Turin and Napoli’s clash with Inter Milan at the Stadio San Paolo – have been postponed because of the outbreak.
No new dates for the matches have been announced and the May 13 final is now likely to be postponed for at least a week.
The spread of the virus has played havoc with Serie A, with 10 matches postponed over the last fortnight and a huge row brewing between clubs and the country’s top football league over the scheduling of fixtures.
The six games shelved from the round – including the title clash between Juve and Inter – are expected to be moved to the coming weekend, with every other matchday pushed back a week.
Italy’s Six Nations rugby union match against Ireland in Dublin, scheduled for Saturday, has already been postponed, and there are now serious doubts about the visit to Rome of England the following weekend.
The Davis Cup tennis qualifier between Italy and South Korea in Cagliari on Friday and Saturday will also have to be held without fans.
Sources: PA & AFP