Italy's Sports Minister Vincenzo Spadafora has set May 4 as a possible date for the restart of training activities interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic. Photo: AP Photo/Antonio Calanni
Italy's Sports Minister Vincenzo Spadafora has set May 4 as a possible date for the restart of training activities interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic. Photo: AP Photo/Antonio Calanni

Lazio boss: Football's financial importance to Italy key to restart

By Alberto Cagliano Time of article published Apr 25, 2020

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ROME – Lazio president Claudio Lotito believes football's financial importance to Italy is a major reason why the Serie A season should be allowed to restart during the coronavirus pandemic.

Italy has been badly hit by the virus and a two-month lockdown has been in place – with football among the events to be halted.

"We are a big industry that contributes €1.2 billion ($1.1 billion) to the treasury [each year]," the Rome entrepreneur said.

"And then there are the contributions that football gives to other sports. CONI (Italy's Olympic Committee) is financed with 460 million as football produces billions in income."

The 20 top-flight clubs, who reportedly could lose 700 million if the season is cancelled, await a response from the government about their plan to resume training after the expected easing of the lockdown on May 3.

Teams would train in isolation at special camps, with the remaining 12 league rounds played behind closed doors from late May or early June.

Lotito had announced in early April that Lazio's training ground at Formello was fully sanitized and ready, while the Italian football federation last week submitted to the government a protocol for safe training.

The Romans, who are second in the league and one point behind champions Juventus, have firmly supported a restart.

"Unfortunately, the league was interrupted [on March 9] at a time when we were in a good physical and mental condition," Lotito said.

Brescia, Sampdoria and Torino have voiced disagreement about the restart, although Serie A on Tuesday said it had reached unanimous agreement.

dpa

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