KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS: The coronavirus outbreak has forced the postponement of two of tomorrow’s Europa League ties and risks bringing the entire competition grinding to a halt.
European federation UEFA had already approved that the ties Sevilla v Roma and Internazionale v Getafe should be played behind closed doors.
Now UEFA has announced that travel restrictions between Italy and Spain have left it no option but to postpone the two games.
The ongoing health controls and the difficulty in finding any new dates at some unknown stage in the immediate future puts at risk the completion of the entire competition – certainly within this season’s ‘window’.
Spanish club Getafe had already said they were not prepared to fly to Italy because of their health concerns and were prepared to forfeit the tie if necessary.
President Angel Torres said he had asked UEFA to come up with another venue or solution. He added: : “We do not want to get into the heartland of the coronavirus, we have no need. I am not prepared to take any unnecessary risks.”
The Spanish and Italian players’ unions had also both asked UEFA to postpone the two ties.
Matches going ahead behind closed doors are:
LASK (Austria) v Manchester United (England)
Eintracht Frankfurt (Germany) v FC Basel
VfL Wolfsburg (Germany) v Shakhtar Donetsk (Ukraine)
Olympiacos (Greece) v Wolverhampton Wanderers (England)
** World federation FIFA has postponed its annual congress, due to be staged in Addis Ababa, from June 5 to September 18, also in the Ethiopan capital.