CORONAVIRUS

Valencia consider banning Atalanta fans from Mestalla

The spread of the coronavirus in Europe has led Valencia CF to consider the possibility of denying ticket-holders entry despite threat of UEFA sanctions.

Aficionados del Atalanta.
MIGUEL MEDINA AFP

The spread of the coronavirus throughout Europe has already had repercussions on football, with several games in Italy being suspended last weekend after other sporting events the world over were postponed or cancelled as authorities struggle to contain daily spikes in reported cases of Covid-19. Four Valencia fans were placed in self-isolation by the regional government after reporting symptoms of the virus following the Champions League game between Los Che and Atalanta last week, and Valencia CF are now considering the extraordinary measure of refusing entry to Mestalla to 2,377 away ticket holders for the return leg on March 10.

Valencia will risk UEFA sanctions over Atalanta ban

“We are going to apply the antivirus protocol up to the final consequences,” a Valencia executive told AS on Tuesday after the regional government issued health warnings for returning fans and put in place a set of measures designed to identify any cases of Covid-19 in the Valencia region. As of yet UEFA has made no statement on the subject of fans travelling to and from Champions League games and the regional health department has urged caution, stating that the game is still two weeks away and the spread of the virus in Italy and Spain needs to be monitored. However, Valencia could face UEFA sanctions if the club decides unilaterally to deny Atalanta fans entry to the game. 

After an outbreak of the coronavirus in Lombardy caused Inter's game with Sampdoria and Torino versus Parma to be called off last weekend it remains to be seen if European fixtures will be similarly affected.

Spain registered its first cases of Covid-19 this week when a hotel in Tenerife was locked down due to a holidaying Italian doctor testing positive for the virus. Another case was later confirmed in Catalonia and Madrid reported two confirmed cases on Wednesday, taking the total in Spain to eight inside 36 hours.