FC Barcelona vs Napoli to be played behind closed doors
Catalan government and football club agreed the measure for the Champions League game due to take place on March 18
FC Barcelona will play their upcoming Champions League match on March 18, at 9pm CET, against SSC Napoli behind closed doors.
A spot in the European competition's quarterfinals is at stake, but the Catalan team will not have the support of their fans for the second leg against the Italian side, due to concerns about coronavirus. In Naples, the result in the first leg was an indecisive 1-1 draw.
Barça and Catalan government representatives met on Tuesday morning and agreed to take the measure, a day after Catalonia's sports secretary, Gerard Figueras, had already stated that the game should be played behind closed doors as a "precaution."
Talking to the Catalunya Ràdio station, Figueras said that the match should be played "with the minimum possible risk."
In a statement on Tuesday, the Catalan authorities justified the decision, saying the spread of coronavirus in Europe "has changed notably in recent days, with an expected rise in the number of cases."
It added that "this match has the added situation of the origin of the fans that might travel with the Italian team to Barcelona." Around 5,000 Italian fans had bought tickets for the match.
Other major events, such as the Catalan capital's marathon, which was due to take place this Sunday, have been postponed.