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Teams blocked… but day confirmed: Serie A (again) plunges into chaos

Welcome to Serie A. Or welcome to absurdity, finally. Even when the worst seems behind it, the Italian championship has this ability to always push its limits. Almost two years after the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, all of footballing Italy is once again plunged into chaos. As if those almost twenty-four months had never existed. At the time of writing, more than 80 Serie A players are currently positive for Covid-19. Udinese, Torino and Bologna, after Salernitana on Tuesday, even announced that they were subject to health measures by local authorities.

To put it simply: quarantine has been required for these teams, which are therefore unable to play (at least) the next two days. The 20th is scheduled for Thursday for the traditional Epiphany holiday, and the 21st this weekend. But not enough to slow down the Italian Football League, which intends to continue the season without stopping.

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Meeting Wednesday evening in extraordinary council in view of the urgent criterion of the situation, the latter decided not to officially postpone any match. A strong decision which was unanimous, according to our information. “There is a procedure to follow and everyone wants to respect it.“, let us know one of the leaders present at this meeting. What does the measure taken by the local authorities matter? Why, you will say? Quite simply to remain faithful to its practice of last season. Either decree no postponement upstream, leaving the players and referees to see on the field the absence of the opponent, who remained in his region on the instructions of the health authorities.A scenario similar to that of the much maligned Juventus-Napoli last season. was then banned from going to Piedmont. The Bianconeri, however, had presented themselves on the lawn to avoid a defeat on green carpet, accompanied by the referee of the match. After 45 minutes, the latter had whistled the end of the meeting, deploring the absence of the Neapolitans.

The following ? Italian sports justice initially considered this a forfeit and imposed a 3-0 green carpet defeat on the Neapolitans, in first and second instance. A commission of the Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI) had however decided in December, in the last instance, to lift these sanctions, thus paving the way for replaying this match. It finally took place on April 7, with victory for Juve (2-1) in front of Napoli.

Napoli authorized to leave for Turin, then…

Ironically, the two teams must (should?) meet this Thursday evening to complete this 20th day. But in addition to Luciano Spalletti, his coach, several players and members of the Neapolitan staff are affected by Covid-19. But this time the health authorities in Naples have decided to authorize the trip to Turin. Once the plane landed, bad surprise: three players (Zielinski, Lobotka and Rrahmani) learned that they could not be aligned, because not having received the third dose of vaccine, the second dating from more than 120 days , and having been in contact with positive cases.

For its part, Bologna (eight positive players) announced in the evening that the players “may not participate in official sporting events for at least five days“. The club therefore requests the postponement of its two matches against Inter Milan, Thursday, then Cagliari, Sunday. Udinese (nine positive players) has officially requested for its part the postponement of its matches Thursday against Fiorentina and Sunday against Atalanta. Torino (six positive players) told him that “the whole group“had been placed in”home quarantine“for five days, which means that the Granata will not be able to meet Atalanta on Thursday in Bergamo or Fiorentina on Sunday. AC Milan announced three new cases of Covid-19 on Wednesday evening.

New protocol

Thursday, no less than four teams could therefore expect another on the ground, knowing full well that it will not show up. Then the classic sequence: end of the match, defeat on green carpet, recourse and match to be replayed. Except that, this time, the League would consider a possible appeal to the courts to challenge the measures of the health authorities if they do not respect the last government circular dated December 30. A real institutional standoff could start between the parties according to the transalpine media. “When I think that Inter will have to go to Bologna to simply make an act of presence, in such a delicate health period… It’s bullshit“, lamented Paolo Condò, great pen of the daily La Repubblicaon the set of Sky Italia on Wednesday evening.

Officially, the schedule for the 20th day of Serie A remains unchanged. Ten matches, twenty teams. In real life: ten matches, including four phantoms, and sixteen teams, plus four unable to appear at kick-off. According to AFP, the League should establish a new protocol to impose an obligation to play with 13 players available (including a goalkeeper), including drawing from the reserve team. The Italian press confirms this information.

(With AFP)

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