Coronavirus: Italy sports minister urges caution over Serie A return

Mon 27 April 2020 | 5:34

Vincenzo Spadafora, Italy’s sports minister, warned after announcing that a decision would be made in the coming days on whether Italian football clubs can return to training amid the coronavirus pandemic.

All sport in Italy has been suspended for the past six weeks as the country grapples with the COVID-19 crisis, which has killed over 25,000 people.

“I can assure you that maintaining a profile of extreme prudence, as I am doing, is the most unpopular position imaginable,” Spadafora later said in a post on Facebook.

“But we have the duty and responsibility to ensure that the whole country, obviously including the world of sport, can soon emerge from this health crisis.

“I am also a fan who misses following my team.

“I was looking forward to the European championships this summer, but they will be postponed, like the Olympics, the Giro d’Italia and all sports competitions in our country.

“It is a huge disappointment, in a much bigger and deeper pain, in an atrocious mourning that has struck our country, Europe, the whole world.”

Italy's minister for sport has warned there are no guarantees over the return of Serie A despite plans to ease lockdown measures.

On Sunday it was announced by Italian PM Giuseppe Conte that the country would begin to relax some restrictions, with reported cases of coronavirus decreasing.

The timeline would allow for sports teams to resume group training by May 18, albeit with social distancing measures in place.

Although such a move suggests a return to something resembling normality, minister for sport Vincenzo Spadafora urged caution as the COVID-19 pandemic remains a threat.

"We'll resume training for team sports from May 18, but only if the conditions of safety and security can be confirmed over the next few weeks," he told Rai 1, with Serie A having been halted in March.

"I don't wish to penalise or slow down the resumption of football, but I have to say we'll see because there need to be rigid and certain protocols in place on the safety of the athletes.

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"The FIGC (Italian Football Federation) presented a protocol last night and the scientific committee considered it insufficient, so it needs adjustments. Only from that moment, when the protocol is agreed, can we decide whether or not to restart football.

"We realise that the world of football deserves respect and support, as it is one of the largest economic resources in the country."

Italy has been one of the countries most affected by the pandemic, with over 26,000 deaths.

source: SportMob