Italian start-up Sofan has added a new feature to its app that allows fans to connect via a video chat and discuss football matches in a stadium-like setting from their homes.

Sofan launched before the COVID-19 outbreak but it has adapted its offering to keep fans engaged while matches are being held behind closed doors. The app is available on iOS and Android devices.

Calcio e Finanza reports that the video chat feature will see fans invited to a virtual Google Meet room four hours before the start of the match. Fans are able to choose the match they want to discuss with other fans via the video chat.

Supporters will then be able to cheer on their team and discuss the match with other fans directly from their homes. The free service launched ahead of Saturday’s match between Inter Milan and Sampdoria.

Sofan chief executive Antonio Gullotti told Calcio e Finanza: “The idea was born about a month ago. We have decided to launch this service to deal with the COVID-19 emergency and the health directives which provide for social distancing and the closure of stadiums. We want to offer fans an innovative solution to continue sharing their passion for football while waiting to return to normal.”

Serie A resumed on Saturday following a three-month absence.

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