Serie B match between Ascoli and Cremonese postponed after coronavirus fears

An Italian Serie B match was called off on Saturday around one hour before the scheduled kickoff because of fears over the coronavirus.

The Italian news agency ANSA said that the Ascoli-Cremonese match was postponed because the visiting side are from the Lombardy region in the north of Italy where 30 cases have been reported so far.

Lega Serie B later confirmed the decision in a statement, saying: "Following an insurgence of coronavirus cases in the north of Italy, it has made the suspension of the match, projected for this afternoon, inevitable due to public health reasons."

The Gazzetta dello Sport said that both teams were already at the stadium when they were told of the postponement and that a coach load of Cremonese fans were turned back.

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Earlier on Saturday, a woman from Lombardy died after contracting the virus, the second fatality in Italy following one in Padua in the nearby Veneto region.

A third tier Serie C match between Piacenza and Sambenedettese was also called off as were several dozen youth team and amateur matches in the Lombardy region.

Information from Reuters was used in this report.