A municipal worker disinfects the Piazza della Signoria, in front of the Palazzo Vecchio, in Florence, on March, 21 2020, as part of measures taken by the Italian government to fight against the spread of the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus). (Photo: AFP)
Italian football bosses confirmed on Thursday the national team's training centre at Coverciano in Tuscany will be made available to local authorities for the treatment of coronavirus patients.
Italy is now the global epicentre for the disease which now killed 7,503 in the country and infected almost 75,000.
"Health is of the utmost importance and needs to be protected, which is why the FIGC (Italian Football Federation) is opening the centre in Coverciano to Italians in difficulty," FIGC president Gabriele Gravina said.
All sport in Italy has been suspended until April 3, and the FIGC chief said he had told the Mayor of Florence Dario Nardella that local authorities could use the facility just outside the city.
"We're not playing football now, to get back to it we need to win the most important match against coronavirus together," added Gravina.
The centre already hosts a unit of the local Fire Brigade, with the hotel and the auditorium now being made available for patients receiving treatment.
Coverciano is where all of Italy's national football teams train. The Italian Football Museum is also located on site.
Known as the 'University of football' it also hosts high-level training courses for coaches and referees and will be the future control centre for VAR (video assistant referee).
In Tuscany, nearly 3,000 people have been infected by the virus which has killed 142 locally.