Italy confirms Serie A can resume season on June 20th

Italy confirms Serie A can resume season on June 20th
The Italian Serie A official ball and logo. File photo: AFP
Italy has given the green light to resume Serie A the weekend of June 20th, and the Coppa Italia on June 13th.

Italy's Serie A will be allowed to restart after a three-month absence, as the country continues to ease restrictions,  Sports Minister Vincenzo Spadafora said on Thursday.

“Italy has started to return to normal life again, it is only right that football should do the same,” said Spadafora.

“The federation assured me that it had a Plan B and a Plan C. In light of these considerations, the championship can resume on June 20.”

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He said the government's Technical and Scientific Committee (CTS) had agreed to the health protocol proposed by Italian football chiefs.

Italian football federation (FIGC) president Gabriele Gravina told the minister during the video conference that a play-off system would be used if the championship were again interrupted, while the existing standings would be used if it were stopped.

“We had a very useful meeting,” said Spadafora. “From the start, I said that football could restart once all the security conditions had been met.”

No top-flight matches in Italy have been played since Sassuolo beat Brescia 3-0 on March 9.

Italian football now faces a scheduling nightmare, for matches which will take place behind closed doors.

Lega Serie A will meet on Friday morning to examine “the different calendar hypotheses” for the remaining Serie A and Italian Cup matches, amounting to 127 in total.

Most teams have 12 league games left to play, but there were four postponed fixtures.

Spadafora suggested that the Italian Cup could be concluded the week before the return to Serie A action.

The semi-final return leg matches between Inter Milan and Napoli and AC Milan and Juventus, could be played on June 13-14 with the final on June 17.

He added that the Italian Cup would be concluded in “the week from June 13 to 20.”

 

“I'm happy and satisfied,” said Gravina. “The restart of football represents a message of hope for the whole country.”

But many issues remain to be resolved including match schedules, players' contracts which end on June 30, and unpaid TV rights by broadcasters.

“Footballers are not robots, there are concerns,” said Damiano Tommasi, president of the players' union.

“A critical issue is (playing a) match at 4.30pm which in June and July in Italy is unthinkable,” added the former Italy and Roma player.

The thorniest issue remains the two-week quarantine period in the case of a positive test, which Spadafora insisted would remain.

“The CTS agreed with the medical protocol, but confirmed the absolute necessity for a quarantine period if a player were to test positive,” said Spadafora, who did not exclude future changes to the rule.

“I'm ready to bet on the resumption of the championship, but with this rule of quarantine of 14 days, the possibilities of concluding it are not high,” said Enrico Castellacci, president of the Italian Football Doctors Association.

Among the five major European championships, only the French Ligue 1 has been definitively stopped.


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