La Liga announced on Thursday that Spain’s first and second divisions have been suspended for the next two matchdays because of the coronavirus outbreak.
The decision comes after Real Madrid were placed into isolation and all activity at their training complex was cancelled after one of the club’s basketball players tested positive.
A statement released by La Liga read: “Given the circumstances that are coming to light this morning, referring to the quarantine established in Real Madrid and the possible cases in players from other clubs, La Liga considers it appropriate to continue to the next phase of the protocol of action against COVID-19. As a result, in accordance with the measures established in Royal Decree 664/1997 of May 12, [La Liga] agrees to postpone at least the next two match days.”
Real Madrid’s Champions League second-leg match against Manchester City — set for next Thursday — was also postponed.
Amid reports the Champions League and Europa League could be cancelled, UEFA released a statement on Thursday saying there will be a meeting via video next Tuesday to discuss plans for football for the rest of the season, as well as Euro 2020, due to kick off on June 12.
A statement read: “In the light of the ongoing developments in the spread of COVID-19 across Europe and the changing analysis of the World Health Organisation, UEFA has today invited representatives of its 55 member associations, together with the boards of the European Club Association and the European Leagues and a representative of FIFPro, to attend meetings by video conference on Tuesday March 17 to discuss European football’s response to the outbreak.
“Discussions will include all domestic and European competitions, including UEFA EURO 2020.”
The Spanish league had already taken the step of moving all games behind closed doors, but with confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the country topping 2,000 on Wednesday, it decided to suspend play.
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Sources had told ESPN on Wednesday that talks were underway over suspending the league.
La Liga sources, following advice from the Ministry of Health, had previously insisted that games would go ahead without supporters, before the move was announced to suspend matches.
Sevilla’s Europa League game against Roma, scheduled for Thursday, had been been postponed, while Barcelona’s Champions League game against Napoli next week is in the balance. The Catalan club have already announced the fixture will be played behind closed doors, but it’s not certain the Serie A side will be allowed to travel for the match.
All football in Italy has been suspended until April 3. And the Portuguese Football Federation has suspended all professional competitions indefinitely.
Spain and Italy are not the only countries where football has been affected by the coronavirus. Games have also been suspended or will be played behind closed doors this week in England, France, Germany, Netherlands, Greece, Austria and Switzerland, among others.
Elsewhere, Juventus defender Daniele Rugani tested positive for the coronavirus, the club announced Wednesday.
Rugani is the most prominent professional footballer to test positive for the virus. German club Hannover also announced Wednesday that defender Timo Hubers tested positive.
Defending Serie A champions Juventus said Rugani and “those who have had contact with him” are being isolated.