October 27 – Just as sports authorities in some badly Covid-hit European countries like England continue to campaign for the ban on fans at top-flight games to be softened, so Italy’s Serie A has gone back behind closed doors for at least a month following a spike in cases.
The move scraps the current rule allowing up to 1,000 spectators at stadiums for football fixtures and other sports which has been in place since September
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced the initiative as part of a series of tighter restrictions as Italy reached 20,000 new Covid-19 cases over the weekend.
As he did so, Serie A president Paolo Dal Pino warned the industry will be unable to sustain many more financial blows declaring the “the system is close to collapsing”.
“I hope the government understands the value of football as an industry, beyond any superficial demagogy,” Dal Pino told reporters.
One of the first victims of the new initiative was Monday night’s Serie A clash between AC Milan and Roma while Wednesday’s mouth-watering Champions League encounter between Juventus and Barcelona will also be played without fans.
“We are very concerned, we are close to collapsing and I fear that the country’s economy will pay dearly for the restrictive measures that have been put in place,” warned Pino.
“Health comes first but it is important to do the right things, planning in the medium and long term and think about the consequences on employment. The side effects of the recent measures affect many sectors, including our own, which lost €600 million in 2020 due to the closure of stadiums.
“We expect attention and sensitivity from the government. The Prime Minister has clearly said that the sectors affected by forced closures will have an economic aid and we expect that an industry like ours, which pays more than €1 billion in taxes every year, will receive what was announced.”
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