Roma – The fate of the Serie A campaign remained in limbo on Thursday after state scientists met with football officials in a desperate attempt to save the season, which was threatened by a new wave of positive tests among players this week.
The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) has teamed up with government technical scientific committees to discuss the details of medical protocols for possible return to group training.
The talks came with increasing pressure from sports-deficient fans and sponsors for Italy to follow in the footsteps of the German Bundesliga and return to action.
Sports Minister Vincenzo Spadafora said after the meeting he hoped the team’s training could continue on May 18.
“There is a very important meeting, very deep, with many requests from doctors and scientists to the FIGC,” Spadafora said on Facebook. “Now the committee, based on this insight, will compile its own assessment which will be sent to the Ministry of Health.”
The FIGC president, Gabriele Gravina, has shown a strong desire to save the season and avoid the “death of Italian football”.
But time is running out for Serie A, which began down to chaos in late February when a coronavirus swept through northern Italy, which is home to big clubs like Inter Milan and Juventus.
The league finally suspended the season on March 9.
At that time, less than 500 people were killed and the league hoped to start in early April.
The official number of victims in Italy is now almost 30,000.
The nation’s top clubs have begun testing players and staff as they prepare to return to training facilities this week for individual sessions.
However, eight players tested positive this week with four from Sampdoria, including one who had previously recovered, three from Fiorentina and one in Torino.
Fiorentina revealed three club staff were also tested positive for the virus.
Cristiano Ronaldo must undergo quarantine for 14 days after returning to Italy from almost two months in Portugal. His teammate at Juventus, Paulo Dybala, was given permission after conducting a positive test for the virus along with his girlfriend.
Media reports said the discussion could continue until the weekend when the parties tried to find out the testing procedures and logistics of travel through the transmission zone.
Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte – the first Western leader to impose a national lockdown to ward off a pandemic in March – will have a final decision.
But Conte was mistaken on the side of caution during the crisis. He disappointed a lot of people at the end of April by delaying the announcement that was expected when the match could continue.
Former Football Federation president Carlo Tavecchio has warned that the top three Italian leagues face the threat of lawsuits if their season is canceled.
On Thursday, Serie C clubs agreed to end this season, promoting Monza, Vicenza, Reggina and Carpi to Serie B. There will be no degradation.
“If the championship is not finished, FIFA and UEFA rules will not be respected and there will be a lot of litigation, with losses not only for Series A but also for Series B and Series C,” Tavecchio said.
The former football executive said “the Italian system will default” unless the number of teams is immediately reduced.
“Football must be saved through desperation,” Tavecchio said.