Coronavirus outbreak plunges European football into crisis mode

European football has been plunged into chaos after the Champions League was hit by the coronavirus crisis.

And it could lead to doubts over Chelsea ’s trip to Bayern Munich next week.

More ties face being staged behind closed doors while fears grow about the entire competition this spring.

It comes as more sports were affected – with France’s Six Nations clash in Paris against Ireland postponed.

Doubts surround Wimbledon, the summer’s showpiece tennis ­tournament.

LTA chiefs were invited to yesterday’s Government meeting at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on the same day as the two-week Indian Wells tournament in California was called off.

In football, Wolves fans were angry and confused as some began their journey to Athens for Thursday’s Europa League tie with Olympiakos, before learning it will be played behind closed doors.

After Greece declared at the weekend it should go ahead with no fans, UEFA left supporters in limbo with Wolves frustrated at the lack of information.

Paris Saint-Germain’s ­second leg against Borussia Dortmund tomorrow night will be played behind closed doors in the French capital.

In Italy, ALL sporting ­activities at every level are set to be suspended in a bid to ­contain the outbreak.

But the restriction does not cover Italian clubs or national teams in international ­competitions, such as the Champions League. They are awaiting ­government ­approval.

But with the nationwide lockdown announced last night, it means all Serie A matches are suspended until April 3.

Atalanta’s Champions League return trip to ­Valencia ­tonight is also going to be played without fans there.

Juventus and Napoli face home games, against Lyon and SPAL, despite large parts of Italy bring under ­lockdown.

Up to 16 million people are effectively in quarantine.

That has cast a shadow over England’s Wembley friendly against Italy on March 27. The clash with Denmark in London four days later is another doubt.

Denmark has said its ­football fixtures should be played without fans.

Tottenham ’s game with RB Leipzig goes ahead with 2,000 Spurs fans ­expected in Germany – but only after top-level talks gave the game clearance.

German health minister Jens Spahn recommended all games in Germany have a maximum of just 1,000 fans.

And that could yet threaten Chelsea’s trip to Munich, and the quarter-final line-up ­taking shape. The draw is scheduled to take place on Friday, March 20.

Leipzig officials insisted England is not a high-risk country, the Spurs game is being played outdoors so the virus is not so easily spread, and not enough notice was given to supporters.

UEFA have banned the media from Tuesday's other game, Valencia’s second leg with Atalanta, in an effort to clamp down on the disease.

Media have got the all-clear to report PSG’s game with Dortmund tomorrow.

But there will be no mixed zone interview area with players afterwards.

Ligue 1 games in France are due to be played without fans – or a maximum of 1,000 spectators – until April 15.


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