May 1, 2020 / 3:24 PM / a month ago

Serie A promises constructive dialogue with government as uncertainty continues

ROME (Reuters) - Italy’s Serie A league will take part in a constructive dialogue with the government over the possible resumption of the current championship, it said on Friday following a turbulent week and amid continuing uncertainty over whether the season would end.

Soccer Football - Serie A - Inter Milan v AC Milan - San Siro, Milan, Italy - February 9, 2020 Flags hanging from a merchandise stall outside the stadium before the match REUTERS/Daniele Mascolo/Files

Serie A has been suspended since March 9 because of the coronavirus outbreak and sports minister Vincenzo Spadafora said on Wednesday that he thought it was unlikely the season could be completed amid a row over government rules for training.

He also suggested that not all of the clubs wanted the season to continue.

Italy has been one of the hardest-hit countries with 27,967 deaths and 205,463 officially confirmed cases since the outbreak came to light on Feb. 21.

On Friday, Serie A said in a statement that its president Paolo Dal Pino told members that he was “willing to engage in dialogue with the government in a constructive and collaborative manner.” The statement said Dal Pino’s position had “the full support of all the clubs.”

The Italian government announced on Sunday that professional athletes from individual sports could start training in sports centres from May 4. However, those in team sports, such as footballers, would have to wait until May 18.

This was criticised by some clubs, including AS Roma and Lazio, who said that footballers should also be able to train on an individual basis in their training grounds from May 4 onwards.

The players’ union (AIC) said the decision was illogical and could increase the risk for players as some might go running in public areas to keep fit.

Spadafora said that medical guidelines which had been drawn up by the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) for the resumption of training were “insufficient”.

On Wednesday, Spadafora suggested that Serie A might not restart at all, pointing out that France and the Netherlands had already declared their seasons over.

FIGC president Gabriele Gravina then said he would never agree to ending the season prematurely as it would be “the death of football”.

On Thursday, Spadafora appeared to soften his stance, saying that, provided the government, Serie A, players’ union and FIGC could agree, “training will resume and this will have a positive impact on possibly resuming the season.”

Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Toby Davis

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