MANCHESTER United’s Europa League tie with Austrians LASK will be played behind closed doors – the latest victim of the coronavirus.
The Austrian government confirmed all games must be played fan-free from today in a bid to contain the virus spread.
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And it means United’s match in the 21,000-capacity Linzer Stadium on Thursday is the first to meet the new guidelines.
The news is a devastating blow to the Austrian club who had hailed the draw against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side as the biggest match in their history.
Austria's health minister, Rudolf Anschober, said on Monday: "All outdoor events with over 500 people, 100 indoor, will be cancelled until mid-April."
The Austrian Chancellor – the equivalent of Prime Minister – Sebastian Kurz seems to have officially confirmed the new policy this morning.
It is unclear whether that means no spectators at all, including VIP guests and the media.
MATCHES HIT BY THE CORONAVIRUS
UEFA competition games to be played behind closed doors:
Barcelona v Napoli (March 18)
PSG v Borussia Dortmund (Tomorrow)
Valencia v Atalanta (Tonight)
LASK v Man Utd (Thursday)
Olympiacos v Wolves (Thursday)
But supporters of both clubs will be denied access, meaning any United fans who make the trip to Austria will be wasting their time and unable to see the match.
It is believed around 900 away fans purchased tickets for the game, and all will be refunded.
It comes as Barcelona confirmed next week’s Champions League game with Napoli will be played without a crowd.
Some 5,000 Napoli fans were expected in the stadium and it was previously raised that only away supporters would be barred.
However the authorities wanted to take no risks, having also postponed the Barcelona Marathon until October.
Paris Saint-Germain's game against Borussia Dortmund will take place in an empty stadium as well as tonight's match between Valencia and Atalanta.
Meanwhile, the Bavarian state government is set to impose a ban on gatherings of more than 1,000 people, which will mean no fans at Chelsea’s Champions League meeting with Bayern Munich.
Also falling foul of the virus outbreak are the Europa League games between Wolves and Olympiacos, Getafe and Inter Milan and Sevilla versus Roma.
As of Monday night, 463 people had died from the illness in Italy with five deaths in the UK from over 300 cases.
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