ROME: Italy’s top-flight Serie A soccer league has been given the go-ahead to restart on June 20 following the novel coronavirus stoppage, Sports Minister Vincenzo Spadafora said on Thursday.
He added that there was a possibility the resumption of the season, which was suspended on March 9, could be preceded by Italian Cup matches one week earlier. The head of Serie B said the second tier also hoped to restart on June 20.
“Italy is starting up again and it’s only right that football can also get going,” Spadafora told reporters after a conference call with the Italian Football Federation (FIGC).
Serie A will be the fourth of Europe’s top five domestic leagues to restart following the Bundesliga, which resumed on May 16, and La Liga and the English Premier League, which are also due to get under way again in June.
The French League ended the season last month with Paris St-Germain named Ligue 1 champions with 10 games left.
Spadafora said the Italian government approved health and safety measures suggested by the FIGC plus a backup plan in case the league had to be stopped again. “In the light of this we can say that the championship can start again on June 20,” he said.
The decision ended a tortuous two months of negotiations during which tempers frayed with Spadafora at one point complaining about millionaire salaries paid to players and saying that Serie A clubs lived in a bubble.
“We’ve had an extraordinary period, full of obstacles and pressures, with consistency, determination and spirit of service,” said Serie A president Paolo Dal Pino.
“For Serie A, the future must mean going back to being the most beautiful championship in the world.”
There are 12 rounds of matches still to play, plus four outstanding games from previous rounds.
Juventus, chasing a ninth successive Serie A title, lead that table with 63 points from 26 games, one point ahead of Lazio who are unbeaten in their last 21 league games.
Inter Milan are a further eight points behind in third with one game in hand.
The Italian Cup still has the second legs of the Napoli-Inter and Juve-AC Milan semi-finals to play plus the final.
Spadafora said one possibility was to play the semi-finals on June 13 and the final three days later.
One of the conditions of Serie A restarting was that the coronavirus testing it will entail “should not affect the general needs of all Italian citizens,” he added.
Spadafora added that if there are signs of a new increase in coronavirus cases in general the league may have to stop again.
“The restart of football is a message of hope for the whole country. I am happy and satisfied,” said FIGC president Gabriele Gravina, adding that he also hoped the lower tiers Serie B and C plus the women’s Serie A could also restart.
Serie B president Mauro Balata confirmed that it intended to resume on June 20.
“Starting up again is a wonderful thing,” he said.
BRIGHTON: Raheem Sterling struck a hat-trick as Manchester City crushed Brighton 5-0 at the AmEx Stadium in the Premier League on Saturday. Second-placed City had lost their previous three away games but never looked likely to extend that streak against a Brighton side that struggled fro Read More...
VALLADOLID: Lionel Messi notched a 20th assist of the season to help a lacklustre Barcelona secure a 1-0 win away to Real Valladolid on Saturday, maintaining the pressure on La Liga leaders Real Madrid. Chilean midfielder Arturo Vidal struck the only goal of the game in the 15th minute, fir Read More...
Kathmandu, July 11 Ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) leader Asta Laxmi Shakya said Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli should have used his address to the nation yesterday to calm down youths protesting in the street in his support. “I was expecting the PM to say that our party had won people’s Read More...
KATHMANDU, JULY 11 The Security Printing Bill registered by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology in the National Assembly on July 8 stipulates the provision of a security printing centre. As per the bill, the centre shall be an autonomous body. The functions, duties and p Read More...
KATHMANDU, JULY 11 Minister of Health and Population Bhanubhakta Dhakal said the government has prioritised management of population for the country’s development. Delivering a message on the occasion of the 25th World Population Day today, Minister Dhakal claimed that Nepal had made progres Read More...
POKHARA, JULY 11 Carrying a 19-month-old child, Susmita Pariyar was searching for an apartment in Kharane Phant this afternoon. Since yesterday’s disaster that took the life of her neighbour Durga Bahadur Sunar in Paitedanda of Pokhara, she has been afraid of staying in her house in Paitedanda. Read More...
KATHMANDU, JULY 11 Rakuten Viber, one of the world’s leading messaging apps for free and secure communication, and UNICEF, working for child rights in Nepal, have collaborated to launch U-Report Nepalchatbot on Viber. U-Report Nepal is a community participation tool empowering young people t Read More...
KATHMANDU, JULY 11 While the country is grappling with the coronavirus pandemic, health workers have warned that people are under the risk of waterborne diseases during monsoon. “With flooding and water logging, there are chances of a surge in waterborne diseases,” said Anup Bastola, consu Read More...