Inter Corporate CEO Alessandro Antonello is glad that football stadiums in Italy aren’t completely closed to fans, though he feels that the new pandemic-related restrictions highlight football’s financial issues.
Speaking to Milan-based newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport in an interview published in today’s print edition, Antonello emphasized that with things as they are, football continues to need financial help.
Football stadiums in Italy have had further capacity restrictions placed upon them due to a recent global spike in COVID-19 infections thanks to the Omicron variant.
The new policy has not seen stadiums totally closed to fans as had been the case for more than a season after the beginning of the pandemic.
However, the new restrictions see the course reversed somewhat from earlier in this campaign as stadiums were gradually opened to more and more fans.
The current state of affairs shows how much the volatility of the global pandemic situation is affecting the capacity for fans to be in stadiums, one of the major sources of revenue for football clubs.
“We’re not happy with the situation, but we hope that this step backwards, taken with the acknowledgement that public health is the priority, is understood and appreciated,” Antonello stated.
“The measure was voted unanimously,” he went on, “showing that we’re all on the same page, but I won’t deny that not everyone was totally happy, given the sense that a certain demagogic rhetoric can come up with these situations.”
He continued that “Considering closing stadiums, which are outdoors, but leaving cinemas at maximum capacity is strange, isn’t it?”
“Several people also pointed out that over the Christmas holidays, with football on a break, the rate of infections did not slow down, but on the contrary increased.”
He suggested that this is “A sign that stadiums are not where the virus is mainly spread.”
Antonello emphasized taking measures to mitigate the peak of infections “Without a total closure of stadiums which would be a very serious blow for clubs who have been suffering the economic consequences of COVID for the past two years.”
“Football is a major economic sector of this country,” he continued, “including in terms of the GDP, but still needs economic restoration.”