Giuseppe Conte

Serie A
Photo by Alberto Lingria/Xinhua via Getty

Italy lockdown eases, paving way for Serie A return

Leave a comment

Serie A is coming back to the training pitch soon.

Italy is moving into Phase 2 of its return from the coronavirus pandemic on May 4, meaning players can return to individual training on that day.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

Group training would begin May 18, and matches could restart June 2. There were some reports that the Coppa Italia could restart before Serie A in order to give most of the league’s clubs more time to return.

Italy’s death toll Saturday was its smallest in six weeks, but Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte stressed the need to continue social distancing measures to avoid another climb for the curve.

Things will still be very closely legislated, via Football-Italia:

From May 4 and for the next two weeks, until May 18, we will confirm the social distancing guidelines, so travel should still be reduced within a region for unavoidable work or health reasons. However, we will also allow targeted family visits, but only targeted ones with social distancing and use of protective masks. There are to be no large family gatherings from May 4.

Responses to the coronavirus pandemic have been varied across leagues. The Eredivisie is done, with no public events expected in the Netherlands until Sept. 1. The Bundesliga wants to play in May if the government gives the green light.

The goal posts are being moved often, and that’s understandable. Getting it right is the most important thing. Let’s see if Italy and Germany set the table for England and the United States.

Coronavirus: Italy may lift ban on sporting events by Monday

Photo by Matteo Ciambelli/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Leave a comment

MILAN — The Italian government could lift its ban on sporting events by Monday in areas affected by the coronavirus if the number of cases stabilizes.

The outbreak forced a number of sporting events to be called off throughout the country this past weekend, including four Serie A matches in the north of Italy.

This week, the ban on sporting events was extended from Lombardy, Veneto and Piedmont – the areas hardest hit by the outbreak – to also include the regions of Friuli Venezia Giulia, Emilia Romagna and Liguria, until March 1.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

“If, as I hope, the statistics don’t give us different signs then maybe already by Monday these measures won’t be continued,” Sports Minister Vincenzo Spadafora said. “But it’s only Tuesday today and we have to wait and see what happens over the next few days. The health of the Italian citizens is the most important thing.”

Italy reported a 45% increase in the number of coronavirus cases Tuesday, from 222 to 300. Ten people have died, all of them elderly or suffering from other ailments.

“Obviously, I can’t say I’m not worried because I don’t want anyone to think we’re underestimating this emergency,” Premier Giuseppe Conte said before meeting with visiting World Health Organization representatives. “But we trust that with the measures we have implemented, there will be a containing effect in the coming days.”

Italy has closed schools, museums and theaters in the two regions where clusters have formed and troops are enforcing quarantines around 10 towns in Lombardy and the epicenter of the Veneto cluster, Vo’Euganeo.

Serie A matches this weekend are set to be played behind closed doors, including Juventus’ key match against Inter Milan. That game is not only potentially crucial to the title race but also sees the return of former Juventus coach Antonio Conte.

Inter’s Europa League match at home to Ludogorets on Thursday will also take place without any fans allowed in.

Serie C canceled all games in two leagues which have teams in the north. Volleyball and rugby games were also suspended nationwide through next weekend.

The Italian Winter Sports Federation suspended all of its events throughout the country for an entire week, although it said that “for now” next weekend’s World Cup ski races in La Thuile in the Valle d’Aosta region were still set to go ahead. Those races are operated by the International Ski Federation, which has already canceled races this season in China that were slated to test the course for the 2022 Beijing Games.