Serie A pressing for fans at stadiums as season begins
ROME - Serie A has urged the Italian government for a partial reopening of stadiums while observing coronavirus safety measures, after the Emilia-Romagna region allowed limited access in two season openers this weekend.
"The situation we have at the start of the new season is surreal," Lega Serie A director general Luigi De Siervo wrote in a note late Friday.
"In July we presented a detailed protocol of more than 300 pages for the partial reopening of stadiums with maximum safety. But, beside the legitimate decision [on Friday] from the Emilia Romagna region, chaos reigns at the start of the league."
The Emilia Romagna governor Stefano Bonaccini has overruled the closure that began in March, when Italy went into lockdown and sport was suspended for three and a half months as the pandemic caused more than 35,000 deaths.
Stadiums remained empty when the last Serie A season resumed in June to be completed in early August.
Bonaccini's decree allows 1,000 spectators at Parma's Ennio Tardini stadium for Sunday's home game against Napoli to start the new campaign and the same number at Sassuolo v Cagliari, which is played in Reggio Emilia.
The measure will also apply to the regional derby Bologna v Parma on September 28, while more than 13,000 people will watch the Formula 1 Grand Prix in Imola on October 31 and November 1.
The measure mandates online registration of the spectators, who are to keep safety distance, wear masks and remain seated during the game, without carrying flags or banners.
A signal that stadiums could soon partially reopen came from Sports Minister Vincenzo Spadafora late Friday, when he announced that 1,000 people will access the Foro Italico in the capital for the semi-finals and the finals of the WTA and ATP Rome Masters tennis tournament, which are set for Sunday and Monday, respectively.
Although he did not specifically mention football, Spadafora said that "beginning with the tennis semi-finals and final [in Rome], 1,000 spectators will be admitted to all the sports events taking place in the open ... a first but meaningful step toward the return, we hope soon, of sport to normality."