Revisions to safety protocols would be needed
Does not automatically mean the season will resume
MIAMI, Fla. — (11 May 2020) The italian government announced on Monday that Serie A clubs can return to team training from May 18 if they make adjustments to medical protocols.
The competitions in Italy have been suspended since March 9 as the country dealt with the harshness of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has killed nearly 31,000 people in the country, according to official numbers, making Italy the third most-affected country after the United States and the United Kingdom.
The Italian government had allowed squads to return to individual training sessions in team facilities from May 4.
The Italian Football Federation (Federazione Italiana di Gioco di Calcio “FIGC”) met with the government’s technical scientific committee (Comitato Tecnico Scientifico “CTS”) last week to discuss details for a return to group training as the country emerges from a two-month coronavirus lockdown.
The prospect of some Italian clubs being able to resume small group training while others are not due to regional disparities in ending the quarantine was a scenario officials on both sides wanted to avoid.
Sports minister Vincenzo Spadafora and health minister Roberto Speranza said in a joint statement on Monday that the CTS had largely accepted the FIGC protocol for a resumption of group sessions.
“The opinion requested by the government from the Technical Scientific Committee confirms the line of prudence,” the ministers’ statement said.
“The indications of the CTS, which are to be considered stringent and binding, will be sent to the Federation for the necessary adjustments of the protocol in order to allow for the safe resumption of team training starting from May 18.”
The Italian sports minister, Vincenzo Spadafora, called for a review of the decision while Italian sports media outlets Corriere dello Sport and Gazzetta dello Sport quoted a communiqué signed by the interior minister, Matteo Piantedosi, which allows for training grounds to open provided social distancing measures are observed.
“Athletes and non-athletes of non-individual disciplines, like every citizen, are allowed to participate in individual sports in public or private areas, respecting the interpersonal safety distance of at least two metres,” the note also reportedly said.
“Il parere richiesto dal Governo sul protocollo presentato dalla Figc è stato espresso dal Comitato Tecnico Scientifico e conferma la linea della prudenza sinora seguita dai ministeri competenti. Le indicazioni del Comitato, che sono da considerarsi stringenti e vincolanti, saranno trasmesse alla Federazione per i doverosi adeguamenti del Protocollo in modo da consentire la ripresa in sicurezza degli allenamenti di squadra a partire dal 18 maggio.”Così i ministri della Salute, Roberto Speranza, e dello Sport, Vincenzo Spadafora, in una dichiarazione congiunta.
The government’s opinion on the protocol presented by FIGC was expressed by the Scientific Technical Committee and confirms the line of prudence so far followed by the relevant ministries. The Committee’s recommendations, which are to be considered stringent and binding, will be forwarded to the Federation for the due adjustments of the Protocol in order to allow the safe resumption of team training from 18 May.”Health Minister Roberto Speranza and Sports Minister Vincenzo Spadafora in a joint communiqué.
Does not guarantee Serie A returns
There is no certainty the Serie A season will resume. Juventus are top of the paused table, one point ahead of challengers Lazio. Teams are likely to pursue their own arrangements now, adjusted for regional guidelines and when each team resumes training on or after May 18 will depend on their preparedness to safely staff facilities.
But there remain issues to be decided such as the quarantine of players in case of positive tests for coronavirus. The CTS wants a 14-day quarantine of any team that has a player test positive for the virus while training is going on. Italian football club owners, on the other hand, would prefer following the example of Germany, which returns to action on May 16, and where only positive cases would be put into isolation.
But the scientific committee insisted football must comply with the general rule of two weeks in insolation for those who have been in contact with positive cases, which would mean an entire squad. The joint commniqué was clear in noting this requirement:
“Il parere del Cts conferma la linea della prudenza”. In caso di positività di un singolo giocatore, tutta la squadra sarà sottoposta a una quarantena di 14 giorni.”Nota congiunta dei ministri Spadafora e Speranza.
“The opinion of the CTS confirms the line of prudence”. In the event of a single player’s positivity, the whole team will be subject to a 14-day quarantine. “Joint communiqué of minsters Spadafora e Speranza.
Resorting to the quarantine of an entire team if a player tests positive for the virus could reek havoc with any return to games. There are still 13 rounds of football to be played for some teams between mid-June, when the FIGC hopes to return to action, and August.
Since the return to training last week, Fiorentina and Sampdoria announced 10 positive tests. In addition, a Torino player tested positive.
In advance of the return to training, players who live outside the country have been returning to Italy. In accordance with Italian government decree, such players must self-isolate for two weeks. Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo is among those currently observing a two-week quarantine period and Swedish star Zlatan Ibrahimovic returned to AC Milan on Monday evening.
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