The coronavirus outbreak has left no aspect of our lives untouched. And the world of sport is no exception. So much so that football matches are being held in stadiums but without spectators, for the first-ever time. With fears of the infection spreading, there is a ban on crowding at any public place in a few European countries.
The much-awaited second leg of the Champions League matches are scheduled to take place behind closed doors, starting on Wednesday (March 11), when Serie A team Atalanta will travel to Mestalla Stadium to play Valencia in the Round of 16.
Besides, top-flight teams, Borussia Dortmund will lock horns with PSG without spectators in Parc des Princes in Paris, on the same day.
And on Thursday (March 12) Barcelona and Napoli take on each other at Camp Nou in Barcelona, Spain. And there too there would be no one to watch the clash on account of the embargo.
This, of course, has caused a lot of heartburns, not to speak of the financial loss incurred by the European Football governing body, UEFA.
With no way to be present to cheer their favourite teams and players, football lovers can only be content by feasting on their passionate game sitting in front of their television sets.
With matches scheduled to be played in Italy too having been brought under quarantine conditions, all matches to be played till April 5 will feature no audience.
President of Italian Footballers’ Association, Damiano Tomassi, took to his twitter handle: “This morning I wrote to @GiuseppeConteIT, #vincenzospadafora, @giomalago, @gagravina, #paolodalpino, @BalataMauro, @FrancescoGhire2. Stopping football is the most useful act in the country right now. The teams to cheer on are playing in our hospitals, in emergency places.”
Stamattina ho scritto a @GiuseppeConteIT , #vincenzospadafora, @giomalago , @gagravina, #paolodalpino, @BalataMauro, @FrancescoGhire2. Fermare il calcio è l'atto più utile al Paese in questo momento. Le squadre da tifare stanno giocando nei nostri ospedali, nei luoghi d'emergenza
— Damiano Tommasi (@17tommasi) March 8, 2020
As for the first match on Wednesday, Atalanta, which was promoted from Serie B to Serie A in 2010-11, looks to be in a top-notch form. It is to be noted that they dominated the La Liga outfit, Valencia, in the first leg with the scoreline of 4-1.