Juventus could force virus-hit Napoli to forfeit match

Juventus - Napoli
Photo by Tullio Puglia - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images

TURIN, Italy (AP) Juventus could force virus-hit Napoli to forfeit the Serie A match between the two teams on Sunday.

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Defending champion Juventus issued a statement Saturday saying its players will go onto the field for the game against Napoli despite its opponents reportedly being banned from traveling because of coronavirus cases.

This could force Napoli to forfeit the match 3-0.

Two Napoli players have tested positive for COVID-19 and Italian media reported that local health authorities prohibited the team from traveling on Saturday and ordered the team and staff to self-isolate.

Sunday’s match in Turin has not been officially postponed and the Italian league’s protocol for COVID cases is the same as UEFA rules. If a team has 13 available players, including at least one goalkeeper, the game can go ahead.

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“Juventus Football Club announces that the First Team will take to the field for the Juventus-Napoli match tomorrow at 20:45, as foreseen by the Serie A League calendar,” read a statement by Juventus on its website and social media channels.

Napoli midfielder Eljif Elmas tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday, just a day after teammate Piotr Zielinski and a squad staff member tested positive.

There has been constant testing at the club after Napoli played Genoa last weekend. More than 20 Genoa players and staff members have tested positive.

Genoa’s match at Torino on Saturday had already been postponed.

Juventus has reported that two staff members have coronavirus but that “these are neither players nor members of the technical or medical staff.”