Serie A: In Italy, time is running out for the return to Serie A | Football news
Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte delayed the decision to resume football on Sunday despite the best athletes being able to resume training within a week.
From next Monday, individual athletes will be able to resume training. But for team sports, especially football, it remains a waiting match, in a championship suspended since March 9.
So while cyclist Vincenzo Nibali will be able to resume his usual training, Juventus’ Cristiano Ronaldo will not.
Sports Minister Vincenzo Spadafora was cautious, warning: “It is not a given that football will resume.”
“May 18? We will see, for team sports, like football, rigid security protocols are needed,” Spadafora told Italian television.
Spadafora spoke of “gaps” in the hygiene and safety protocol presented last week by officials of the Italian football federation (FIGC).
FIGC President Gabriele Gravina insisted on Monday that they were “working to restart football safely”, warning of the damage that would result from not completing the season.
“We are working tirelessly to define the best conditions for the completion of the suspended championships, responsibly planning all the steps to be taken, but also to define the different scenarios,” said Gravina.
For the Italian sports press, the government’s announcement was “a cold shower” in the words of Turin-based Tuttosport.
“Two-speed recovery,” Gazzetta dello Sport wrote of postponing a team sports decision, while Corriere dello Sport called it a “joke”.
Lazio sporting director Igli Tare said football clubs felt “discriminated against”.
The Roman club are second in Serie A, one point behind leaders Juventus and in view of a first league title since 2000.
“This is news I never expected,” Lazio midfielder Marco Parolo said. “I do not understand why we footballers with an adapted sports center cannot resume our sessions normally.
“You can go for a run in the parks, but it doesn’t make sense if I have a suitable sports center to do it.
“Formello (Lazio’s training center) has five pitches. By separating you can avoid contact and you can vary the times of individual sessions,” he said.
“We respect the instructions of the government but all the conditions are met to be able to resume training in complete safety.” Italian football bosses had already postponed the end of the Serie A season from June 30 to August 2.
The FIGC’s goal of returning to competition in early June has become unachievable, pushing back the date from June 10 to 14.
With at least three weeks of preparation needed, and in some cases 13 rounds to go, beyond mid-June it would be impossible to play all the remaining matches.
Another touted solution would be a jump-off to award the Scudetto and qualifying places for European competition and relegation places.
“It’s yes, I would accept it,” Lazio president Claudio Lotito told La Repubblica.
Any format change must be communicated to UEFA, the governing body of European football, by 25 May at the latest.
All 20 Serie A clubs have voted unanimously to end the league season, but the final decision will rest with the government.
But in a football-mad country, clubs may not be able to count on the support of a grieving audience of more than 27,000 dead.
Recent polls suggest that two-thirds of Italians are opposed to a return to the pitch.