Some Serie A players to resume training
MILAN: Players from several Italian football clubs were on course to resume individual training as the Mediterranean country prepared to gradually roll back its coronavirus lockdown. The Italian government has been feuding for weeks with individual regions about which activities will be allowed when the nation begins to emerge from an economically crippling lockdown today.
Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte is lifting Italians’ stay-at-home orders and permitting restaurants to resume takeout service next week. But Conte has delayed announcing a restart to the Serie A season for fear of another spike in contagions for a disease that has officially killed 28,710 in Italy — second only to the United States.
Conte is only allowing clubs to resume team training on May 18. Several regions that have avoided the worst of the outbreak say they will use a loophole to individual players to start training on Monday.
The voluntary sessions will affect teams such as Napoli in the south and the central Emilia-Romagna region’s Bologna. Parma announced they will open their facilities next week for use by their squad members
Rome’s Lazio have also voiced plans to resume individual training at their sport centre. But rules published by Sassuolo made clear that none of their coaches or other staff will be involved in the sessions.
Up to six players on an open pitch at a time will be allowed and they will be barred from using the changing rooms to minimise the threat of contagion. Serie A clubs unanimously voted on Friday to finish the 2019-20 season — suspended since March 9 with Juventus leading Lazio by a point.
But Sports Minister Vincenzo Spadafora noted this week the chances of a restart were “increasingly narrow”.
Meanwhile, Germany’s minister for the interior and sport said yesterday he supports a resumption of the country’s football season this month despite the coronavirus epidemic. “I find the schedule proposed by the German league plausible and I support the restart in May,” Horst Seehofer told Bild newspaper, three days before a meeting of German authorities to discuss the issue.
The German Football League (DFL) backs a resumption of matches without spectators around mid-May, which would make it the first major European championship to make such a move. Seehofer, who plays a key government role on the issue as he holds several portfolios, has emphasised that the teams and players must respect several conditions.
“If there is a case of coronavirus in a team or its management, the club as a whole, and eventually also the team against which it last played, must go into quarantine for two weeks,” he said.