Man United will play in an empty stadium at LASK Linz in the UEFA Europa League Round of 16 on Thursday due to fears over the spread of coronavirus.
The Austrian club confirmed that one of the biggest games in their history will be played behind-closed-doors, as over 900 Man United fans have bought tickets for the game and it is expected they will now be refunded. The Austrian Interior Minister has banned events of more than 500 people from taking place.
In a statement the leaders of the Austrian Bundesliga had the following to say regarding the game against Man United.
“LASK announces that the home game against Man United must take place without spectators. The association will provide further information after publication of the relevant decree.”
The chairman of the Austrian Bundesliga, Christian Ebenbauer, added the following comments:
“Of course we all prefer to watch atmospheric games with many spectators, but we are experiencing an exceptional situation across the country. We fully trust the experts responsible and of course implement the measures to protect the population. Like other organisers, these measures are associated with massive organisational and financial challenges for us and our clubs.”
Wolves’ trip to Olympiacos in the UEFA Europa League is due to be played in an empty stadium in Greece on Thursday, while reports state the Premier League club have asked for the game to be postponed as Olympiacos owner Evangelos Marinakis confirmed he has been diagnosed with coronavirus.
Chelsea’s UEFA Champions League game at Bayern Munich next week also seems likely to be played in an empty Allianz Arena as Bavaria, Germany has taken similar measures to Austria in banning large events.
Games in Serie A are postponed, matches in La Liga will be played in empty stadiums until early April and that will also happen in France for Ligue 1 games, while plenty of other leagues across Europe are also impacted.