Serie A: Italian federation worried current season won't finish due to strict quarantine rules

Italy's rules mandate that the entire squad must be quarantined for 14 days should a player test positive for coronavirus. This puts the Serie A, which resumes on 20 June, on shaky ground.

Reuters June 05, 2020 19:55:12 IST
Serie A: Italian federation worried current season won't finish due to strict quarantine rules

Rome: The fixture list is ready and the restart date is confirmed but the Italian football federation (FIGC) is still worried that the Serie A season might not finish due to rules for quarantining players infected with COVID-19.

Serie A Italian federation worried current season wont finish due to strict quarantine rules

File image of Juventus players celebrating a goal from Cristiano Ronaldo. AP Photo

In most countries where football has restarted, such as Germany, the general rule is that when a player tests positive for coronavirus, he has to be quarantined but his teammates can continue training and playing provided they test negative.

However, in Italy, where Serie A is due to resume on 20 June, the government rule is that the entire squad must be quarantined for 14 days.

“It is creating anxiety for the whole football movement,” said FIGC president Gabriele Gravina, adding that he had asked sports minister Vincenzo Spadafora to reconsider the rule if the number of new cases in Italy continues to drop.

“There are clear rules which allow you to continue the activity, isolating (only) an athlete or a staff member,” he added, referring to the German Bundesliga.

The Serie A fixture list has teams playing two matches a week from 20 June to 2 August to complete the season but this could be thrown into disarray if a team have to be quarantined for 14 days. If several teams were quarantined, finishing the season would become impossible.

Gravina has put forward a number of backup solutions, which include a playoff system or simply declaring the current positions to be final, but none have been well received.

Last week, he came up with the idea of using an algorithm, based on team’s home and away form, to calculate their final points tally — and this also attracted widespread criticism.

According to a calculation by La Republican, the final standings using the algorithm would see AC Milan drop from seventh to ninth, potentially missing out on a Europa League place. There would be no other major changes.

“A lot of noise has been raised without even knowing what it’s about,” Gravina told Il Mattino in an interview. “Maybe we shouldn’t use the word algorithm. Let’s just call it a rating criteria inspired by sporting merit.”

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