Serie A clubs vote to resume season on June 13
By Tommaso Fiore
Last Updated: 14/05/20 6:09am
Serie A clubs have voted to resume the season on June 13, pending approval from the Italian government.
Sixteen Serie A clubs voted in favour of that date during a league assembly on Wednesday, while the remaining four voted to resume the season the following weekend, on June 20.
It comes after confirmation by Italian sports minister Vincenzo Spadafora that a medical protocol has been agreed by the government and the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) to allow Serie A teams to resume group training from May 18.
However, the protocol means that if one player or staff member tests positive for coronavirus after May 18, the entire squad will have to go into quarantine for 15 days - unlike the Bundesliga model.
"Regarding the resumption of sporting activity, in accordance with the decisions of the Government and in compliance with the medical protocols to protect players and all involved personnel, the date of June 13 has been indicated for the resumption of the league," a Serie A statement said on Wednesday.
It is understood a restart on June 13 would give Italian clubs enough time to finish off both the Serie A season and the Coppa Italia, which was halted after the first leg of both semi-finals, before UEFA's cut-off point of August 2.
At least 19 Serie A players have tested positive for coronavirus since the league was suspended on March 9, with Fiorentina and Sampdoria reporting respectively six and four new virus cases within their club last week.
There are 12 rounds remaining in Serie A along with four matches that were postponed from the 25th round, with Juventus topping the table one point ahead of Lazio.
Analysis: Italian football united in wills
Serie A clubs have always been crystal clear in their willingness to complete the season and Wednesday's vote is another statement proving all parties are united and going down the same path.
However, the issue has been deeply political - and lots of the discourse was centred around adapting a medical protocol to satisfy the government's scientific committee, so that all players and club staff can get back to focusing on football without worrying about the virus.
The idea behind the approved protocol is to make each club a 'safe group' through rigorous and regular testing, starting from two weeks before the season would resume, to minimise the chances of exposure.
While this can be a shrewd approach, there are questions raised about how the league as a whole would cope once any player would be tested positive for COVID-19 - given that the whole team would need to be quarantined, instead of the individual player as would happen in the Bundesliga.
Another sticking point is responsibility, as club medics do not want to be considered the only liable party if a player tests positive. In short, any resumption of Serie A is in any case linked to security: further reassurances will have to arrive directly from the federation.
Now the ball is totally in the government's court, with Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte revealing last week he will pick up the football dossier himself and make a decision based on Italy's virus curve. Next week, the government will shed more light on the thought process, but Italian football is braced and ready to give it a go.