March 10, 2020 / 3:14 PM / a month ago

UPDATE 2-Soccer-Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 matches until April 15 to be played in empty stadiums

(Adds France games behind closed doors)

PARIS, March 10 (Reuters) - All Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 soccer matches until April 15 will be played without spectators amid the coronavirus outbreak, the French League (LFP) said on Tuesday.

France on Sunday banned gatherings of more than 1,000 in a bid to contain the spread of the coronavirus, which has infected over 1,400 and killed 30.

“This decision is in strict application of the ministerial order published on March 10,” the LFP wrote in a statement.

Later on Tuesday, French federation president Noel Le Graet said that France’s next two friendly games, against Ukraine and Finland on March 27 and 31 respectively, would be played behind closed doors at the Stade de France.

The match against Finland was supposed to be played in Lyon but Le Graet said it made ‘no sense’ to travel to Lyon to play in an empty stadium.

French authorities had already said that Wednesday’s Champions League last-16 return leg against Borussia Dortmund would be played behind closed doors as the spread of the coronavirus is taking its toll on European football.

All Serie A matches in Italy, the world’s second most-affected country with coronavirus, have been suspended until April 3 and La Liga games in Spain will be played behind closed doors for at least two weeks.

Lille hosted Olympique Lyonnais in front of over 40,000 fans on Sunday but RC Lens’s Ligue 2 home game against Orleans on Monday was played in an empty stadium.

Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Alex Richardson and Pritha Sarkar

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