Serie A to be back in action on June 20



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Italy Serie A will resume play on June 20 Image: forzaitalianfootball.com

The top tier of Italian club football, Serie A, is all set to return on June 20 following the country’s Sports Minister, Vincenzo Spadafora, giving the league the thumbs-up to resume.

Sports Minister Vincenzo Spadafora informed that the Government’s Technical and Scientific Committee (CTS) had agreed to the health protocol proposed by Italian football chiefs.

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

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

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

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

Serie A clubs had voted to resume the competition on June 13 before a Government decree later ruled that sports could not return until the following day.

The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) agreed to adhere to the ruling but had hoped for special dispensation. June 20 has now been agreed to as the start date but Spadafora said it might be possible for the Coppa Italia semi-finals and final to be played on June 13 and June 17, respectively.

Serie A has been suspended since March 9, with Italy suffering severe blow due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Commented the FIGC President, Gabriele Gravina, “The restart of football represents a message of hope for the whole country. I am happy and satisfied and it is a success I share with the Minister for Sport…Ours is a project of great responsibility because it invests everything in the professional world of Serie A, B and C and, hopefully, the women’s Serie A.”

The first legs of the Coppa Italia semi-finals took place before the lockdown.

AC Milan drew 1-1 with Juventus, while Napoli beat Inter Milan 1-0.

Twelve rounds of fixtures still need to be finished by Serie A.

“Finally today we have a date and the certainty that the championship will resume, it is a further signal that Italy is starting again,” said Juventus captain Giorgio Chiellini.

“We can’t wait to get on the pitch and do what we love most, certain that we can give so many emotions to the millions of fans who were waiting,” he added.

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

“Having a certain date is certainly a step forward, but problems remain and we hope to resolve them,” said Damiano Tommasi, President of the player’s union.

“Footballers are not robots, there are concerns,” the former Italy and Roman player said.

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,” asserted 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.

“It’s a crime. I’m not going to quarantine 50 healthy people. We don’t do this if there is a positive case in a factory,” argued Lazio doctor Ivo Pulcini, with the Roman club committed to a resumption of the season, as they sit just one point behind leaders Juventus.

Lega Serie A has remained firm on its media-rights payment policy, reiterating its stance that broadcasters must meet deadlines as laid down in their contracts despite the league’s suspension.

Lega Serie A (Serie A League) is the governing body that runs the major professional football competitions in Italy, most prominently the Serie A.

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