Italian government minister for sport and youth policies Vincenzo Spadafora has reiterated that he is hopeful that the football season will be able to resume but insisted it will only be able to resume in complete safety.
The season has been on hold for over two months now as a result of the ongoing global Coronavirus pandemic, the worst of which seems to have passed in Italy.
Athletes, including footballers, were allowed to return to training on a voluntary optional basis starting May 4 and the aim is for teams to be allowed to train together starting from this coming Monday.
“We’re hopeful of the season resuming, but only in complete safety after the appropriate measures have been taken and in keeping with the protocol, for everyone” Spadafora remarked whilst in the Italian senate earlier on today.
“The government has always kept a precise and coherent line, putting the health of its people first.
“It wasn’t at all possible to resume any sooner due to instrumental pressures. We know the need to end the season arises not only from sporting reasons but also for legitimate economic reasons.
“Until now, the general picture of the virus’ spread didn’t allow us to take leaps forward. To date, those who have decided on a specific date are those who have chosen to stop like France.
“Even Germany, which will also resume playing, once postponed its recovery date to keep in line with the evolution of the pandemic and spread of the virus through teams.”
Spadafora then went on to share his belief that the Italian football federation (FIGC) can make changes to the protocol to allow for team training to resume and hit out at the excessive coverage football has received in the media during this troubling time.
“I think the FIGC can readjust its protocol ahead of the resumption of team training.
“I’m aware of the passion around football and the importance of the sector, but I found the escalation of the debate around football to be excessive, at a time when Italians are concerned about health and their jobs.”
He then went on to explain why he proposed teams go into quarantine if a player tests positive and why such action is not required in shops.
“Someone asked why a supermarket wouldn’t close if one of its checkout staff tested positive, while in the case of a team it’s prescribed that they should go into quarantine.
“The answer’s obvious. In a supermarket it‘s possible for people to keep their distance and use masks, whereas football is, by nature, a contact sport.”
Spadafora, who has held his current position since 2018, then went on to state that facilities will be open by May 25 at the latest and spoke on the funding.
“We’ll reopen sports facilities by May 25 at the latest, but we’d rather reopen them earlier, providing we get an answer from the scientific committee.
“We’ve reached a total of around €1 billion for sports funding through ordinary resources already available to the ministry and those that are extraordinary.”