March 14, 2020 / 8:59 PM / 21 days ago

Visiting team locked out of stadium after River Plate refuse to play match

(Reuters) - An Argentine Superliga Cup match was cancelled on Saturday when River Plate refused to let Atletico Tucuman officials into their stadium because of fears over the spread of the corona virus.

River had already announced that they would not play the fixture but as local officials did not sanction the decision, the Atletico kit men turned up in advance of the players to find the doors closed.

Match officials came with a notary to record the situation and told the Atletico side not to bother turning up for the match.

“This is the first time this has happened to me,” referee German Delfino told reporters outside the ground.

“We came at the official time we always come to the stadium and as the club had closed their doors we were not permitted to enter. It was corroborated that no one could enter, so it is not necessary for the Atletico players to come.”

River said on Friday they were shutting the club because of “the severe risks to the health of the professional squad” presented by the corona virus.

Other Argentine games took place on Saturday without fans present.

On Thursday the Argentine government cancelled international sporting events due to be held in the country until the end of March.

Officials also decided to continue with the football programme but mandated all games be played without spectators.

Reporting by Andrew Downie, editing by Pritha Sarkar

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