The International Boxing Association (AIBA) on Thursday cancelled the European leg of its continental forum in Italy, citing the novel coronavirus outbreak in that country.

The forum was scheduled to be held on Saturday in Assisi, where the Indian boxing team is currently participating in a preparatory camp for next month’s Olympic qualifiers in Jordan.

“Scheduled for February 29th in Assisi, Italy AIBA European Forum 2020 is cancelled due to COVID-19 (coronavirus). This decision was taken by AIBA leadership in the best interests of the delegates,” AIBA Interim President Dr Mohamed Moustahsane said in a statement.

“The coronavirus outbreak in Italy worsened and Italy has by far the highest number of coronavirus cases in Europe. Moreover, Italy has imposed strict quarantine restrictions in some regions which could last for weeks,” it added.

The Indian boxers are scheduled to fly out of Italy on Friday.

Moustahsane said the AIBA will organise the Forum later in the year “when situation in Europe becomes better.”

“I hope you and your families stay healthy and that the coronavirus will be eradicated soon. Your health is our priority and we will do this forum when the circumstances are better,” Moustahsane said in a communication to National Federations.

Assisi is a hill town in the central Italian region of Umbria. The coronavirus outbreak in Italy has so far affected the northern Lombardy region, leaving 12 dead and 400 infected.

Eleven Italian towns — 10 in Lombardy and one in the north-eastern region of Veneto — have been placed under a lockdown, according to various media reports.

AIBA continental forums are meant to “unite National Federations through dialogue”. The forums allow for meetings between NF presidents and general secretaries to discuss and resolve all internal and bilateral problems.

The goal is to discuss AIBA reforms and future of the organisation, which has been stripped of the right to conduct the qualifying as well as the main event of the Tokyo Olympics by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

The IOC has cited alleged financial and administrative mismanagement in the AIBA for its decision.