Nigeria’s 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Sierra Leone on 27 March and 31 March could be postponed or played behind closed doors after FIFA president, Gianni Infantino, admitted next month’s international matches could be shifted due to the outbreak of the coronavirus.
Over 2,000 people have been killed by the virus that originated from China but has spread throughout the world, including Italy, which has the highest number of reported cases in Europe.
A host of Serie A matches were postponed last week while five more would be played behind closed doors this weekend. Inter Milan’s Europa League clash against Ludogorets was played in an empty stadium.
The Swiss Football League (SFL) cancelled matches for this weekend after the Government banned events expected to draw more than 1000 people.
With Federations taking precautions against the virus, Infantino said FIFA could also follow suit by postponing next month’s round of international games, and that could affect Nigeria’s clash against Sierra Leone.
The country announced its first case of the virus on Thursday. The patient is an Italian citizen who works in Nigeria, and he has since been quarantined.
But with the virus showing no signs of slowing down, Infantino believes matches may not hold when the international break comes up next month.
“People’s health is much more important than any game,” Infantino said in quotes gotten from BBC.
“I wouldn’t exclude anything at this moment.
“That’s why we have to look at the situation and hope that it will decrease rather than increase. At the moment it looks like it is still increasing.
“If games have to be postponed or played without spectators until it is over, then we have to go through that,” he concluded.