France’s Sports Minister, Roxana Maracineanu, has announced that there will be a 1,000-attendance cap for all sporting events in the country until April 15 amid concerns over the ongoing threat posed by the coronavirus.
France’s Six Nations rugby match against Ireland, which had been scheduled to take place on Saturday, has also been postponed due to the coronavirus, which as of yesterday (Sunday) had killed 19 people in France.
Six Nations said in a statement that it will continue to work with its constituent unions and federations to identify dates on which all postponed matches will take place, with Ireland vs Italy and Italy vs England having already been called off.
Paris Saint-Germain’s UEFA Champions League match against Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday will be played behind closed doors as the coronavirus continues to have an impact on sporting events across France. PSG’s Ligue 1 match against RC Strasbourg, which had been due to take place last Saturday, was also postponed.
“We are in an exceptional situation and the sports world must participate in the collective effort,” Maracineanu said, according to French newspaper L’Équipe. “Organisers will have to adapt to the new rules by limiting their size to 1,000 people by counting the participants or opting for a closed event when this is possible.”
Last week, France put a halt on all indoor gatherings of more than 5,000 people after an emergency cabinet meeting that also included measures such as the cancellation of the Paris half-marathon.
The coronavirus is also impacting sporting events in the US, with the showpiece Indian Wells tennis tournament having been cancelled. Qualifying matches at the tournament were due to begin today (Monday).
The tournament is one of the most popular outside of the grand slams and attracts more than 400,000 fans each year, but with the Riverside County Public Health Department having declared a public health emergency for the Coachella Valley, the decision has been taken to cancel the event.
The Italian government announced last week that all sporting events in the country would take place without fans for at least a month.