Football Sports

Italy sports may extend suspension to end of April

Italy’s sports minister will propose to extend the ban on all sports events and competitions in the country “to the whole of April” as the COVID-19 cases remain uncontainable. At the time of writing, over 98,000 have been infected in the country with nearly 11,000 deaths recorded. Previously, Europe’s sporting events were halted indefinitely following the growing cases of infected in the country.

“Restarting matches is unrealistic. I will propose to extend the ban on all sports competitions, of all levels and types, to the whole of April,” Minister Vincenzo Spadafora told Italian news outlet. The current nationwide lockdown is due to expire this week. However, as the virus remains uncontainable in the country, the possibility of extending public gatherings is on the cards.

Italy’s top-flight Serie A football league has been suspended since March 9 with at least 15 Series A players have tested positive with virus, including Paulo Dybala, Juventus forward and his girlfriend; Daniele Rugani, Juventus defender; Dusan Vlahovic, Fiorentina forward. Spadafora also said that the suspension should be extended to all training, which had not been officially banned in Italy.

“I’ll extend the measure to training — an area where we hadn’t intervened because there was still a possibility of holding the Olympics,” Spadafora added. Last week, the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics have been postponed including several major football events like the UEFA Euro 2020 and CONMEBOL Copa America.

Over the weekend, Cristiano Ronaldo along with the team and manager Maurizio Sarri agreed to forgo €90m ($100m) in wages to help the club during the crisis, while Spadafora said he will allocate €400m ($450) to amateur sports associations. “They need to understand that nothing will be like before anymore after this crisis,” Spadafora said as he call a “serious desire to change” to Serie A officials.

Juventus said in a statement they had “reached an understanding with the players and the coach of the first team regarding their compensation for the residual portion of the current sport season”. The statement added: “The understanding provides for the reduction of the compensation for an amount equal to the monthly payments of March, April, May and June 2020.

Last week, a call to restart the Serie A season, with only 12 matches left to complete the season, was scrapped by Italian Football Federation chief, Gabriele Gravina saying that he “won’t lose hope of resuming the campaign” and hopes to return by July or August. Juventus are currently sitting on top of the league table with 63 points from 26 games.

“Should the current season’s matches be rescheduled, the club will negotiate in good faith with the players and the coach conditional increases of compensations according to the actual resumption and finalisation of official competitions,” the statement reads. European football has been one of the hardest hit sporting events by the global pandemic.