MUNICH: Bayern Munich confirmed on Tuesday that next week’s Champions League game against Chelsea would go ahead without fans over fears of the spread of the coronavirus.
The German club’s decision follows a ban by the regional Bavarian government on any gathering of more than 1,000 people until April 19.
Bayern hold a 3-0 lead over Chelsea going into the last-16 second-leg tie on March 18.
“FC Bayern is … implementing the decree of the Bavarian state government, which was issued to protect the population. The aim is to minimise the risk of coronavirus infection,” the club said in a statement.
“Only persons contracted to work for the operation of the match are permitted to attend. TV coverage is guaranteed,” it added.
Four of the eight second-leg ties in the last 16 will be held behind closed doors. No decision has been made on next week’s game between Juventus and Lyon in Turin.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Monday announced the suspension until April 3 of all sporting events in the country.
Germany’s international friendly against Italy in Nuremberg – the second largest city in Bavaria – on March 31 will also be held behind closed doors.
Wednesday’s Rhine derby between Borussia Moenchengladbach and Cologne will become the first game in Bundesliga history to be played without fans.
Local authorities also ordered the Ruhr derby between Borussia Dortmund and Schalke taking place on Saturday to go ahead without supporters.