Coronavirus: Player at Italian third tier is first European footballer diagnosed

A player for Italian third division club US Pianese has tested positive for coronavirus, marking what is believed to be the first case of a footballer in Europe.

The Tuscan region confirmed on Thursday that the 22-year-old felt unwell on Saturday at a hotel in the Piedmont region city of Alessandria ahead of his team's league game at Juventus under-23s.

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The player, who has not been named, did not play on Sunday and was sent home, where he underwent tests that confirmed the positive case on Wednesday. He is recovering in a hospital in Siena.

A statement from the Tuscany region read: "Two new suspected positive cases of Coronavirus in Tuscany. Both are awaiting confirmation by the Higher Institute of Health.

"One is a 22-year-old man in the Siena province, a Pianese player, who last Saturday had symptoms in a hotel in Alessandria, where he was training with the team ahead of Sunday's game [at Juventus U23s.]

"He did not play the game as that morning, he had a high fever. The team returned to Piancastagnaio, while he went home. Wednesday morning, he was tested in his home and the results came back as positive in the evening.

"Since early this morning, he is at a hospital in Siena, in isolation. He is in good, healthy condition. Another player of the team felt the same symptoms, which the club is tracking."

Meanwhile, a journalist from Valencia has also contracted the disease following the clash between the Spanish club and Atalanta in the Champions League, the city's health ministry has confirmed.

LaLiga president Javier Tebas said he has a plan in place should there be any need to postpone matches in Spain, where 15 people are currently suspected of having the coronavirus as of Thursday.

"We have done a study in case we are forced to suspend matches for any reason and we have looked at how they would be made up," said Tebas, who spoke during the Sports Summit MX. "We have shared this study with UEFA and they have had no issues with it. For us, the priority is to play out the rest of the league season, even if we are forced to do it behind closed doors."