The Italian Government on Wednesday night issued an order that all sport in the country must be played behind closed doors until April 3 because of the coronavirus outbreak.
There are now more than 95,000 cases of coronavirus worldwide including more than 3,000 cases in Italy.
More than 100 people have now died in Italy from the illness, which has been given the official title of COVID-19.
Among the events impacted by the Government’s decree are Italy’s Six Nations matches against England, in the men’s, women’s and under-20 tournaments.
All Serie A matches scheduled over the next month will also be impacted, as will Italian clubs home fixtures in the Champions League and Europa League competitions.
Events across Olympic disciplines will also be impacted, including this weekend’s FIE World Cup fencing event in Padua.
Also scheduled to take place in Italy this weekend is the Strade Bianche, a men’s and women’s World Tour cycling event.
Cycling News reported today that the Strade Bianche was believed to be “on the brink of collapse” because of the coronavirus outbreak, and that a similar fate was hanging over forthcoming cycle races in the country including the Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-San Remo.
Other events in Olympic sports that will be impacted include the FIS Alpine Ski World Cup final in Cortina over the weekend of March 21 and 22 and the 49er FX Asian Championship, due to start on March 20, which was moved to Italy from Hainan in China.
The full decree from the Italian Government reads: “Sports events and competitions of all kinds and disciplines, held in every place, both public and private, are suspended – however it is permitted to carry out the aforementioned events and competitions behind closed doors, or outdoors without the presence of the public.
“In all such cases, the associations and sports clubs, by means of their medical staff, are required to carry out the appropriate checks to contain the risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus among athletes, technicians, managers and all accompanying persons who participate.”