Serie A announces Juventus-Inter will be played without fans

Juventus' Cristiano Ronaldo reacts after not being awarded a penalty shot during a round of sixteen, first leg, soccer match between Lyon and Juventus at the at the Lyon Olympic Stadium in Decines, outside Lyon, France, Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani)

MILAN — The Serie A game between Juventus and Inter Milan will take place in an empty stadium because of the virus outbreak in Italy, the league confirmed Thursday.

Serie A’s governing body released a statement announcing that Sunday’s Derby d’Italia — one of the biggest games of the season — and four others would be played without any fans allowed in.

The other matches are Udinese vs. Fiorentina on Saturday, AC Milan vs. Genoa, Parma vs. Spal, and Sassuolo vs. Brescia on Sunday.

Inter trails Serie A leader Juventus by six points going into the game, although it has played a match less.

Sunday’s match will also see Inter coach Antonio Conte return to Juventus for the first time since he left the club in 2014. Conte led Juventus to the first three of its eight straight league titles and also spent most of his playing career with the Bianconeri.

Italy has reported a total of 650 cases of the new coronavirus, up from 400 on Wednesday evening and three a week ago. Three more people with the virus died in 24 hours, bringing Italy’s toll to 15.

Italy has closed schools, museums and theatres in the two hardest hit regions and troops are enforcing quarantines around 10 towns in Lombardy and the epicenter of the Veneto cluster, Vo’Euganeo.

Inter’s Europa League match against Ludogorets on Thursday was played without any fans allowed in.

Four Serie A matches were postponed last weekend, with two given new dates on Thursday.

Hellas Verona vs. Cagliari and Torino vs. Parma will both be played on March 11.

New dates for Atalanta vs. Sassuolo and Inter vs. Sampdoria have yet to be decided.

When submitting content, please abide by our submission guidelines, and avoid posting profanity, personal attacks or harassment. Should you violate our submissions guidelines, we reserve the right to remove your comments and block your account. Sportsnet reserves the right to close a story’s comment section at any time.