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Coronavirus: B.C. youth soccer team pulls the plug on $100K trip to Europe amid COVID-19 concerns

Coronavirus outbreak impacting B.C. youth sports team
The spread of COVID-19 is impacting youth sports in B.C. as a Coquitlam soccer team cancels exhibition games it was supposed to play on a trip to Europe.

Concerns about the spread of the new coronavirus have had an impact on sports teams both big and small.

In B.C., the Coquitlam Metro-Ford Soccer Club has pulled the plug on its planned trip to play a series of matches in Italy and the U.K.

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Head coach Giovanni Gasbarro said the team had been raising funds for the trip for two years.

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“I feel really bad because the boys raised $10,000,” he said. “We’re told we’re getting 50 per cent back but it’s a $100,000 trip, 24 people going.”

READ MORE: Full coverage of the coronavirus in B.C.

Gasbarro said the club’s travel agent is working with the tour company on getting back as much money as possible. The club is also looking at a trip at a later date.

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“We’ll make it happen one way or another next year,” he said.

The outbreak has had an impact on sporting events across the world.

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Italy has suspended all sporting events, including all Serie A soccer matches, until April 3 as part of a nationwide lockdown.

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Santa Clara public health announced a ban on events with more than 1,000 people starting March 11, putting the status of upcoming San Jose Sharks home games in doubt.

The NBANHLMajor League Baseball and Major League Soccer are closing access to locker rooms and clubhouses to all non-essential personnel in response to the coronavirus crisis, the leagues announced in a joint statement Monday night.

— With files from Reuters and The Associated Press