Coronavirus: Italy suspends sporting events in country through April 3

The coronavirus outbreak has hit Italy hard and as a result the Italian Olympic Committee, which oversees all sports in the country, has suspended sporting events until April 3, according to the Associated Press. The Italian Olympic Committee, also known as CONI, announced that their decision to halt play does not include international play "for clubs or national teams," because it not regulate that competition.

CONI requested a government decree to impose the decision. Italy's sports minister Vincenzo Spadafora said he is working on a new decree which he says he hopes would be "signed tomorrow."

About 16 million people just in the northern part of the country alone are on lockdown, and sports continue to be affected. Many events have taken place without fans and the country's top soccer division, Serie A, played on Sunday in front of no fans. They have postponed games, but none have been cancelled. The last time Serie A was cancelled came during World War II.

Set to take place in just over four months, the Olympics are also facing unknowns, cancelations and concerns due to the virus. The Italian swimming federation has already cancelled a meet for Olympic qualifying and withdrew from international events. 

As of right now, the 2024 Tokyo Olympics are expected to go on as scheduled, though Japan Olympic minister Seiko Hashimoto said while the games must take place during the 2020 calendar year, it does not contractually have to be during the summer.

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