March 5, 2020 / 1:57 PM / a month ago

Atalanta's Champions League game in Valencia to be played in empty stadium

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Champions League - Round of 16 First Leg - Atalanta v Valencia - San Siro, Milan, Italy - February 19, 2020. Atalanta's Josip Ilicic celebrates scoring their second goal REUTERS/Daniele Mascolo

MILAN (Reuters) - Italian club Atalanta have confirmed that their Champions League match at Valencia on Tuesday will be played in an empty stadium because of the coronavirus and an order from the Spanish Health Ministry.

Atalanta, based in the northern Italian city of Bergamo, said they had received a letter from UEFA, European soccer’s ruling body, saying that “the match can go ahead but must be behind closed doors with no ticket holders”.

The club said all their fans who had bought tickets for the match, the second leg of the round of 16 tie, will be reimbursed. Atalanta, playing in the Champions League for the first time, lead 4-1 from the first leg.

Spain’s health ministry on Tuesday said that fixtures expected to draw crowds from zones designated as high-risk for coronavirus, such as northern Italy, would be played without spectators.

UEFA confirmed the decision, adding that the Europa League match between Inter Milan and Spanish side Getafe, at Milan’s San Siro stadium on March 12, would also be played without spectators.

Italy has said that all games and sports events in the country can only go ahead without fans until April 3 in a bid to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Reporting by Brian Homewood,; Editing by David Goodman and Ed Osmond

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