Last Updated: 4/20/20 8:40 a.m.
Italian Football Federation president Gabriele Gravina has warned that financial problems will arise if football in the country cannot continue.
It comes ahead of a week of negotiations, including one on Wednesday with the heads of Serie A, Serie B, PFA and referees’ associations, with the initial steps to continue training which tends to be on the agenda.
In an interview with the national broadcaster, RAI, the 66-year-old player also stressed he would not be a ‘caretaker’ of football in the country and that working towards reopening was very important.
“At the moment there are two seemingly opposing groups: schools of thought that believe that all activities must be closed with the world of sports and whatnot, which I am part of, who believe in continuing,” Gravina said.
“Football moves around five billion euros. Stopping today will be a disaster but we are worried because if football doesn’t start again, there are problems for the future.
“This type of choice will lead to unprecedented responsibility. I cannot be an administrator of Italian football.
“I have to defend football and I don’t understand the resistance not to start, with all the guarantees possible, to reorganize the whole sports movement.”
Italy, to date, has been the European country hardest hit by coronaviruses, with more than 23,000 deaths.
Sports in this country were initially suspended on March 9 and there are temporary suggestions aimed at restarting when it is considered safe to do so.
Gravina acknowledged that the Federation would be directed by the Italian government and health advice, but sport insisted it could be a beacon of hope for the country.
He also believes that concerns about testing should not be a barrier to continuing the game.
“This is a responsibility that I leave to the government, I will welcome it with more relief,” said Gravina, who has previously expressed concern about legal challenges if the season doesn’t end.
“You can imagine the drama I have experienced in the last few weeks because I have had to hold my battle almost isolated, but Italian football is not a separate monad from the other professional categories of our country and other intercontinental institutions.
“But there is an important feeling: hope.
“I ask to be considered a movement for the socio-economic impact of our country like other sectors.
“The football federation’s medical-scientific commission has established a protocol that has been sent to the Ministry of Sports and Health which guarantees elements of the group are closed, so I don’t understand the concern.
“As for swabs and tests, there are clinics available. This cannot be an obstacle to restart football.”