Serie A clubs delayed return to training over testing and quarantine protocols

May 18 – Is Calcio on the way back? Not just yet. Italian football’s return remains fraught with difficulties, a medical protocol the latest rule to thwart progression towards a restart, delaying collective training sessions.

This weekend, German football resumed play under the watchful eye of both millions of TV spectators and other leagues, who scrutinised and dissected every detail of the DFL’s streamlined organisation that enabled the country’s two professional leagues to play in a safe environment, insulated from the coronavirus.

But such a scenario is still a long way off in Italy, where Serie A clubs have been desperate for a restart to mitigate the deep financial impact of the shutdown. On Monday, clubs were slated to resume collective training sessions, but confusion over a medical protocol to allow the league to resume safely have pushed back those practices.

Italian media reported that the government’s technical-scientific committee had not ratified the medical protocols. Some clubs will continue individual training sessions, but a resumption on June 13 now seems unlikely as the back-and-forth between the government, clubs and Serie A carries on.

The government argues that when a player tests positive the entire squad must be quarantined for 14 days, a rule that would almost certainly derail the season again. The clubs’ counterargument is that isolating the player would be enough.

“It is obvious that this would not allow us to finish the championship by August because, if there were 2-3 infected in one or two teams, everything would be systematically blocked for a couple of weeks,” said Cagliari president Tommaso Giulini. “Since this has a good chance of happening, it would mean that 80% to 90% of us would not be able to finish by August 2… We are trying, we need less rigidity and within the next few days we will know something more.”

The clubs and the government have also clashed over the stipulation that each squad, including coaching and backup staff, should submit itself to a training camp in complete isolation.

In Italy, 12 rounds of play are left this season, along with four matches that were postponed earlier in the season. Juventus top the table.

In March, Italy became Europe’s coronavirus hotspot. The country has 225,435 confirmed cases and 31,908 Italians passed away after contracting the illness, according to the latest data from the Johns Hopkins University.

Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1591092838labto1591092838ofdlr1591092838owedi1591092838sni@o1591092838fni1591092838