Anger as Italian tennis championship told to go ahead without spectators

The Italian Tennis Federation (FIT) reacted furiously to the government's ruling that next week's Rome Masters be played behind closed doors, describing the decision as an "enormous injustice".

Anger as Italian tennis championship told to go ahead without spectators
The Rome Masters tournament attracted 220,000 spectators in previous years but this year will go ahead with none. File photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP
Last year's tournament brought in 220,000 spectators, but organisers were hoping to deal with coronavirus regulations by restricting numbers at this year's event, which begins on Monday, to 6,000 per day in four separate zones.
“It is a huge injustice,” said FIT president Angelo Binaghi during a press conference in Rome.
“While other sports, in other (Italian) regions, have been authorised to accommodate thousands of people, no one will be able to enter the biggest sporting event in our country.”
The Italian government has given the go-ahead to small numbers of fans at several other events, notably Formula One's Tuscany Grand Prix in Mugello and the MotoGP meeting in San Marino, both of which take place next weekend.
But bigger events will continue to be played behind closed doors as the current coronavirus restrictions were kept in place under a new emergency decree on Monday.
Binaghi said health authorities had rejected their suggested protocols, and were not swayed by the French Tennis Federation allowing 11,500 per day for the French Open in Paris later in the month.
Binaghi also launched a swipe at the regional authorities in Lazio, where the Masters is taking place, for not getting behind the event, claiming they “did not want to take responsibility” for green-lighting public admission.
“The damage is enormous,” he said. “If we had known before, we would have organised the tournament in another region, in Genoa for example, or in Puglia.”
The Italian government also resisted growing demands from football clubs, with Serie A set to restart on September 19th.


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European football giants cancel Israel pre-season match over security

Italian footballing giants Juventus were set to square off against Spanish side Atlético Madrid in Tel Aviv this weekend but the match was postponed amid renewed hostilities in the region.

European football giants cancel Israel pre-season match over security

A pre-season friendly match between Spanish side Atlético Madrid and Italian giants Juventus which was scheduled to take place in Israel this weekend has been cancelled because of “security” concerns, the two teams announced on Saturday.

The match was due to take place at the Bloomfield stadium in Tel Aviv on Sunday but a renewed surge in hostilities in the region prompted the promoters Comtec Group to call it off.

“Due to the latest developments, the friendly between Atletico Madrid and Juventus, scheduled in Israel, has been cancelled,” said Juventus in a statement.

“Due to the current security situation, Comtec Group announces that the match between Atletico Madrid and Juventus, scheduled for tomorrow, Sunday 7 August at Bloomfield Stadium, will not be played.”

Israel hit Gaza with air strikes on Saturday and a Palestinian militant group retaliated with a barrage of rocket fire, in the territory’s worst escalation of violence since last year.

Juventus start their Serie A campaign with a home tie against Sassuolo on August 15 while Diego Simeone’s Atletico play their La Liga opener against Getafe the same day.