13th June set as probable Serie A restart – Clubs request change in protocol

epa08415595 AC Milan's Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic (L) wearing a protective face mask arrives at Malpensa airport in Milan, Italy, 11 May 2020, amid the ongoing coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. Ibrahimovic will stay under quarantine at the Milanello sports center, where he will train in individual mode in the absence of his teammates. Ibrahimovic has spent the past two months in Sweden, where he trained at Swedish soccer club Hammarby IF, which he co-owns. EPA-EFE/MATTEO BAZZI

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Italian football leaders have asked the government to re-consider the medical protocol it has authorised as a condition for allowing Serie A to re-start after the coronavirus stoppage.

The Serie A league said after a meeting with the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) and representatives of team doctors on Friday that parts of the protocol were “difficult to implement”. Serie A is hoping to resume on June 13 but the government has not yet decided if and when it can go ahead. It has, however, authorised clubs to begin team training from Monday. The main sticking point has been the Minister of Health’s insistence that, if a player tests positive for the coronavirus, the entire team would have to go into quarantine for 14 days.

There is a “99%” chance the Italian government will allow Serie A to resume on 13 June, the head of the country’s Olympic committee (Coni) says. Clubs are back in training and the league approved 13 June for resumption if permitted by the government. Serie A was suspended on 9 March with most teams having 12 games to play. “To talk about the chances of it finishing, you would need a crystal ball,” Coni president Giovanni Malago said. “It’s a real risk, but Serie A’s primary and only objective is to restart.”

The Serie A clubs and the players’ association says that this is not practical as it would take only a handful of positive tests in different teams to cause a flurry of postponed games. They argue that, in countries where the re-start of the league has been authorised, only the infected player needs to be isolated.

“What worries us, and we have represented this to Sports Minister Vincenzo Spadafora who has been receptive and considerate, is the issue of mandatory quarantine for the whole team in case of a new positive (test),” FIGC president Gabriele Gravina told state broadcaster Rai. The clubs also want the government to drop a requirement that teams and their staff spend 15 days isolated in a training retreat before the league re-starts.

Serie A said that Friday’s meeting took place in “an atmosphere of active collaboration.” “The points of the protocol that are difficult to implement were analysed and some tweaks were constructively elaborated in order to solve problems,” it said in a statement.

It said the meeting had ended with a proposal for alterations to the protocol which would be submitted to the sports and health ministries. The protocol was initially drawn up by the FIGC but was described as insufficient by Spadafora and adjusted by the government.

Via Reuters / BBC / 

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