Vincenzo Spadafora

Serie A return
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Spadafora: Coppa Italia, Serie A can return June 13

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Italian football can return June 13 with the second legs of the Coppa Italia semifinals and perhaps the final, followed by Serie A the next weekend.

Italian sports minister Vincenzo Spadafora made the announcement Thursday, bringing calcio back to a country that’s been ravaged by the coronavirus.

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In addition to stringent testing protocols and quarantine for club members who test positive, Serie A has plans in place for another wave of the coronavirus should it rear its ugly head. From Football-Italia.com:

“The FIGC also assured me that the Plan B (play-offs and play-outs) and Plan C (using the existing table) can be adopted in case of suspension. It is not up to me as Minister to decide, as that will be done by the FIGC. In the light of all those events, we can today say that the season can resume from June 20.”

Spadafora said he was hopeful the entire Coppa Italia could be completed before June 20, which would be a heavy burden on two of the following semifinalists: AC Milan, Inter Milan, Juventus, and Napoli.

The winners could face three matches inside of eight or nine days.

Napoli leads Inter after one leg in Milan, while Milan and Juve drew 1-1 at the San Siro.

Juve had its four Coppa run broken by Lazio last season. The Old Lady leads Lazio by one point in the race for a ninth-consecutive scudetto.

Serie A team training will resume May 18 with strict quarantine protocol

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Italian sports minister Vincenzo Spadafora announced that team training will resume on May 18, though there will be plenty of oversight.

Clubs could be sent to quarantine for 14 days if a player tests positive for coronavirus, challenging the players and staff to remain home and play by the rules. Football-Italia notes that this differs from the Bundesliga policy, which merely isolates those who teste positive.

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The clubs will have to pay for their own medical testing and not tax the medical system. Football-Italia also says that the clubs will be responsible should their players test positive.

So what does this mean about on-field action? From Football-Italia.com:

“When will the season be able to resume? The line of prudence is the right one. It’ll take at least another week to understand the contagion curve and then make a decision on the campaign. All team training will start again on May 18 and I’ll present the document tomorrow to ensure that all sports complexes safely reopen, starting with gyms, by the end of May.”

Spadafora said that the path to Serie A resumption had “narrowed” late last month, and reports say the league had previously targeted June 2 for a restart.

Report: Serie A could resume training May 2, games late in month

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Blanket testing for players and a 14-day quarantine for foreign players are on the menu as Serie A reportedly looks to resume in May.

Football Italia cites a report from Italian news outlet Adnkronos that discusses a May 2 return to training with matches resuming late in the month.

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Vincenzo Spadafora is Italy’s minister for sport, and is hopeful that the worst of the coronavirus is behind the country.

According to the report, any player returning to Italy from abroad would be quarantined for two weeks before returning to training.

After an initial round of testing for all players, more would follow:

More tests would be made weekly to maintain that level of certainty all the way to the end of the season. Clubs are believed to be stocking up on COVID-19 tests, in accordance with medical structures in their cities, ensuring everyone has enough to go around.

The plan may be met with resistance, as combustible Brescia owner Massimo Cellino says his club will not play and has accepted that it earned relegation.

Italian sports leaders hopeful for early May return for Serie A

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Italy continues its battle with the coronavirus, but authorities are already planning for the rest of the Serie A season.

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Italian sports minister Vincenzo Spadafora and federation president Gabriele Gravina have both spoken openly of a return during the first weekend in May.

It’s a bit audacious given the uncertainty of the disease’s run through the world, but it’s promising for us as people and sports fans to see someone putting a date on any semblance of normalcy.

Here’s Spadafora, from The Chronicle:

“I believe that Serie A can return on May 3. We will evaluate whether it’s played behind closed doors, or open to the public. This formula will then be added to international competitions, like the Champions League and Europa League.”

The conclusion to Serie A’s scudetto race will be interesting for once, as Lazio is a point back of Juventus with a dozen matches left each.

The sides were initially scheduled to meet on April 26.

More coronavirus connections to soccer:

Coronavirus: Italy may lift ban on sporting events by Monday

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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.

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“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.