As the world battle the Coronavirus, Inter President Steven Zhang says “closing doors but continuing matches is the right thing to do.”
Concise News reports that a decision was finally announced by the Government yesterday that sporting events will be played behind closed doors until April 3, as the positive cases in Italy went above 3,000, including 107 deaths.
“Closing doors but continuing matches is the right thing to do,” Zhang told BBC Sport.
The original proposal last week had been to play Juventus-Inter without fans from the most-affected areas, specifically, Lombardy (whose capital is Milan), Emilia-Romagna and Veneto, was rejected by Inter, then ruled out by the local authorities, who simply postponed the game.
“From a moral standpoint, as President of a football club and a manager in an organisation who are involved in these events, I just cannot accept this kind of proposal and I cannot let public health be put in this difficult condition,” added Zhang.
“It doesn’t matter what kind of game it is, it doesn’t matter if it was 24 hours or 48 hours, we knew the situation was not going to be gone.
“The right thing to do was to reject the proposal. I had to do what was morally correct, even though it was difficult to say no. But we made the right choice and now people realise it was correct.
“As a football club, we have a responsibility to deliver the right message. Safety is the highest priority. Closing the doors to a match is difficult for many reasons but in the end, in order to continue with the calendar and continue with normal activities, we have to take these decisions.
“I am not worried closing doors will affect the performance of the team. What I am worried about is putting public safety at risk by doing these kinds of events in front of spectators.”
Schools shut as coronavirus spreads
In related news, as the cases of Coronavirus in Italy climb to 3,089 – with 107 deaths – the Government announces that schools and universities are shut until at least March 15.
A press conference held this evening confirmed the latest statistics, which have in total 3,089 cases testing positive for Coronavirus.
That includes 107 deaths, an increase of 28 over the last 24 hours and 55 over the last 48 hours, 2,706 currently suffering from the illness and 276 who have fully recovered.
This gives Italy a mortality rate of 3.47% at this moment.
At the same time, the Government announced that Italy will close all schools and universities until at least March 15 to help limit the spread of the Coronavirus.
All sporting events will be played behind closed doors or suspended during the same period.
This could be extended because the original recommendation from the scientific community was to close schools, stadiums and other public events for 30 days.
“The Coronavirus thrives in crowded areas,” Roberto Burioni, Professor of Microbiology and Virology, told Radio 24.
“I love football too, but at this moment we cannot hold sporting events with large groups of people, no matter what the sport. I realise football is important to people, but we are closing schools and that is more important.
“The contagion is spreading, but that is to be expected because these cases are the result of behaviour when we still didn’t know the virus was in Italy.
“We now have to wait and see if these preventative measures take effect. We’ll only really see the effects of the contagion in a few days.”
Have a story to tell, or images to share on interesting Nigeria news? Send them to Concise News via Whatsapp (0906 928 2577)
Tired of generators? Get PRAG INVERTER, Nigeria's No.1 Inverters Be the first to know...Get daily round up of top Nigerian newspaper headlines. Click here. Tired of estimated bills/generator noise? Go off the grid...get PRAG SOLAR for 24/7 noiseless and uninterrupted power supply.