Restart of Serie A season in politicians' hands
ROME – Condemned by the coronavirus pandemic to another weekend, the sixth, without football, Italy's fans await ministerial decisions about the restart of a Serie A season that was interrupted in early March with 12 games to go.
Health minister Roberto Speranza and his colleague Vincenzo Spadafora, who runs the sport ministry, were to receive on Saturday the sanitary protocol that the Italian football federation (FIGC) prepared this week.
The document envisions the reopening of training camps on May 4, with matches to begin three or four weeks later, without fans in the stands.
Italy is in lockdown until May 3, with the government due to take further measures, which could include an extension, depending on the development of the crisis.
Casualties, meanwhile, totalled 22,745, most of them in northern Italy, as of late Friday.
FIGC's protocol reportedly mandates rigorous medical tests on footballers, who are either to reside at the camp or be shuttled on sanitized buses from nearby hotels.
"Between late May and June it is possible to restart," FIGC boss Gabriele Gravina told the public broadcaster Radio 1. "I hope all teams can play in the stadiums, also in the north, otherwise we will find other solutions."
Walter Ricciardi, an official of the World health organization who has been advising the Italian government, said that the varying impact of the virus should be considered.
"We are proposing to play games in (Italy's) centre and south," he told Radio Punto Nuovo. "In early May we'll be able to give suggestions, looking at the situation.
"But you have different kinds of clubs. Not all of them can afford tests and room for everyone. This is a massive financial effort."
It is believed that the 20 Serie A clubs, should have no financial issues, which, however, could be felt at the two lower professional divisions and even more in amateur leagues.
The FIGC, meanwhile, announced Thursday the cancellation of its 15 leagues involving male and female teenagers in all its youth competitions. Rugby, basketball and volleyball had earlier annulled their seasons.dpa