General view of the Mestalla stadium during the Champions League round of 16 second leg soccer match between Valencia and…
View of an empty Mestalla stadium during the Champions League round of 16 second leg soccer match between Valencia and Atalanta in Valencia, Spain, March 10, 2020.

Avoid large crowds and places where there can be close contact with people is one way to avoid the coronavirus, health authorities say — and sports leagues across the globe are taking such advice very seriously.

Italy, which has the Europe's worst outbreak, has canceled all sports events until at least the first week in April — a major blow to the country's ribald football (soccer) fans and players.

Football matches in Spain, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, and Slovenia — among other countries — will go on as scheduled, but in empty stadiums, while some games have been scrapped altogether.

The Summer Olympic torch will be lit in Tokyo without spectators for the first time in nearly 40 years.

Tennis tournaments, golf opens, paralympic rowing, cycling, and weightlifting are among the other events that have either been postponed or cancelled.

Four U.S. major leagues — baseball, basketball, hockey, and soccer — have so far declined barring fans from their games.

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James said last week he would refuse to play in an empty arena, saying there’s no real point in playing without fans.

But Tuesday, he appeared to back away from his earlier comments, saying he would be disappointed if no one could watch him play, but would do whatever is best for the safety of the players.

 

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