March 1, 2020 / 9:28 PM / a month ago

UPDATE 1-Soccer-Sampdoria v Verona Serie A match postponed over coronavirus

(Updates with Serie A decision to postpone match)

March 1 (Reuters) - The Serie A game between Sampdoria and Verona due to be played on Monday has been called off and is the sixth out of 10 scheduled for the current round of matches to be postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak in Italy.

Serie A said in a statement on Sunday that the game at Genoa’s Luigi Ferraris stadium would be rescheduled for May 13, the same date as the five other matches which were called off on Saturday.

The decision came after Giovanni Toti, the president of the Liguria region where Genoa is located, said the Sampdoria-Verona game could only be played if it was behind closed doors.

The death toll from an outbreak of coronavirus in Italy has risen to 34, five more than a day earlier, officials said on Sunday, while the number of confirmed cases was 1,694.

On Monday, the Italian government banned sports events in six regions of the country but said Serie A matches in the affected areas could still go ahead behind closed doors.

Serie A initially agreed but on Saturday changed its mind and said the five matches affected — including the key clash between Juventus and Inter Milan — would be postponed.

Genoa is not one of those areas but Verona is and Toti said he did not want to take any risks.

“Playing Samp-Verona with open doors would be a serious risk, because Genoa has not had any contagion so far, so it would have seemed inappropriate and imprudent to give access to the public,” Toti told reporters, according to the Gazzetta dello Sport and other Italian media. (Writing by Brian Homewood; editing by Ken Ferris)

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