Barcelona vs Napoli Champions League To Be Played Behind Closed Doors Amid Coronavirus
The Catalans were held to a 1-1 draw in the first leg at Stadio San Paolo last month, and will not have the benefit of home support when they attempt to reach the quarter-finals of the competition next week.
It had been reported that Napoli were attempting to get the return fixture postponed altogether, but the club have insisted that the “story is fake news” in a post on social media.
The club’s official statement reads: “Napoli denies reports claiming that the club has asked for the match against Barcelona to be postponed. The story is fake news.
“We support the decisions of the Italian government and of UEFA.”
All of Italy was put under lockdown on Monday as cases of coronavirus continue to rise in the country, which has been the worst-affected in Europe to date.
Over 9,000 people have tested positive for the illness in Italy, and 463 deaths have been recorded in total, with up to 16 million people in the northern region already in quarantine.
Naples is situated on the southern coast, but Spanish officials were reluctant to take any chances when it comes to the safety of everyone involved in Barcelona’s meeting with Napoli.
Barcelona vs Napoli Champions League To Be Played Behind Closed Doors Amid Coronavirus Fear
The secretary general of sport for the Generalitat de Catalunya, Gerard Figueras, recommended that the game be held in an empty stadium at the start of the week, following the measures put in place for Paris Saint-Germain’s Champions League showdown against Borussia Dortmund.
That second-leg fixture will also be played behind closed doors at Parc des Princes on Wednesday, with more disruptions to the European football calendar expected in the coming weeks.