Football Sports

Sports Minister confirms Serie A return on June 20

As the German top-flight sees a successful return in the wake of the global health crisis, while the Premier League is all systems go on June 17, Italy’s Serie A will also have its return on 20 June, the country’s sports minister has confirmed. There are 12 remaining matches to play with several teams having outstanding matches from earlier rounds.

Earlier this month, players returned to individual training, while the group sessions restarted this week. Italy’s Sports Minister Vincenzo Spadafora has announced that Serie A will be allowed to restart after a three-month hiatus, as the country continues to ease restrictions. “Italy has started to return to normal life again, it is only right that football should do the same,” said Spadafora.

He said that the government’s Technical and Scientific Committee (CTS) had agreed to the health protocol proposed by Italian football chiefs. “The federation assured me that it had a Plan B and a Plan C. In light of these considerations, the championship can resume on June 20,” Spadafora added. Serie A’s 20 clubs have voted unanimously in favour of a restart.

Shortly after the confirmation, the league said in a statement it will complete the 25th round with the four postponed matches — Atalanta vs. Sassuolo, Hellas Verona vs. Cagliari, Inter Milan vs. Sampdoria, Torino vs. Parma — on the weekend of June 20-21, and schedule the next round of matches in the following week. No top-flight matches have been played since Sassuolo beat Brescia 3-0 on March 9.

Meanwhile, the Coppa Italia final will be played on June 17, but it did not give any dates for the semi-final second leg matches – Napoli vs Inter Milan and Juventus vs AC Milan – which also have to be played. The final of the Italian Cup will be on June 17 in Rome. The dates and times of all the matches will be announced in the next few days, the league added.

One of the conditions of the league restarting was that the coronavirus testing it will entail “should not affect the general needs of all Italian citizens,” Spadafora said.  Teams will however still be subject to strict measures, similar to those adopted by the Bundesliga. Medical protocol includes rule that clubs must put their whole team and staff on two-week quarantine period if there will be confirmed cases.

“The restart of football is a message of hope for the whole country. I am happy and satisfied,” said Italian football federation (FIGC) president Gabriele Gravina. Juventus, chasing their ninth consecutive Serie A title, is currently leading with 63 points from 26 games, only one point ahead of Lazio, who haven’t won the league since 2000.