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FOOTBALL

Coronavirus forces Basel FC to move home Europa League clash

FC Basel will be unable to play the second leg of this month's Europa League last 16 tie against Eintracht Frankfurt in their home city, the Swiss club announced on Monday, due to coronavirus-related restrictions.

Coronavirus forces Basel FC to move home Europa League clash
Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

“The second leg (19th March) of our @EuropaLeague Round of 16 clash with @Eintracht will not take place in Basel due to the Coronavirus outbreak in Switzerland,” Basel said on Twitter.

In a statement, the club added they believed “several hundred visiting supporters would go to Basel and gather outside the stadium during the match”.

The decisions comes after local police decided to bar the match from being played in the city, and the club did not indicate where the match might be held.

Last week the Swiss football league suspended the country's top-flight Super League until March 23 in an effort to help contain the spread of COVID-19, which has killed more than 3,800 people worldwide.

Contacted by AFP, UEFA said they were “studying all possible scenarios”.

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FOOTBALL

‘Overwhelmed’: Unaware Swiss super fan stunned about viral fame

A Swiss super fan who has shot to fame after images of him watching Switzerland’s win over France went viral told the media he was unaware of his viral fame - but that he was overwhelmed with the world’s attention.

‘Overwhelmed’: Unaware Swiss super fan stunned about viral fame
Image: Twitter.

Like most Swiss football fans, Luca Loutenbach’s Monday evening – highlighted by a surprise upset win over the current World Champions and tournament favourite France – went about as well as you could have expected. 

But while his side were putting on the pressure through late goals to push the game into extra time, Loutenbach’s image was being shared across the world. 

Two pictures of Loutenbach, juxtaposed from before and after Switzerland scored an equaliser in the 90th minute to send the game to extra time, were widely shared. 

The images were even shared by Sadiq Kahn, the mayor of London, who congratulated Switzerland and said the images summed up the beauty of football. 

On Tuesday, Loutenbach spoke with Swiss tabloid Blick to tell the story. He said he had no idea about the images as his phone had no reception in Romania – and only found out after the game. 

“I didn’t have a network during the game. But some fans around me were connected to the internet and quickly realized what was happening. What an incredible buzz!” said the man from the canton of Jura. 

While Switzerland have made it further than they have in their history in the tournament, Loutenbach is far from a bandwagon fan. He told Blick he’s seen around 50 national team games before. 

“It’s the most beautiful day in the history of Swiss football, let’s not be afraid of saying it. It is the accomplishment of the immense work of the ASF (Federation), of (coach) Petkovic and of the whole team” he said. 

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