Football

Serie A targets May 2 return

Italian football federation president Gravina hopes to complete coronavirus-disrupted campaign

Italian football federation (FIGC) president Gabriele Gravina expressed his hope yesterday that Serie A would resume on May 2, with a possible finish in July at the latest.

On March 9, all Italian sport was suspended until April 3 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic which has killed around 3,000 people in the country and forced the postponement of Euro 2020.

"I don't even want to think that we won't start again, it would be a hiatus, it would worry me for our country," Gravina told Italian radio.

"We're working on the hypothesis of starting again on May 2 and completing the championships possibly going into July, if we don't achieve it by June 30.

"In the event that it's impossible to use all the windows as planned, we will resort to a change in the format of the competitions."

Italian newspaper La Repubblica, however, reported that Uefa has rejected the prospect of any league using play-offs as a way to complete their disrupted seasons.

The FIGC president welcomed Uefa's postponement of the European Championship until next year, stating as far as they were concerned, "national championships have priority".

"We don't want to penalise anyone, but just as we evaluate format changes in the event of a reduction of the windows to play, so Uefa must do so by remodelling the Champions and Europa League," added Gravina.

The Champions League final is scheduled for June 27 and the Europa League final on June 24.

Italy's sports minister Vincenzo Spadafora backed Gravina's estimation "that Serie A can resume on May 3".

"At least that's what we hope for," said Spadafora.

"We will then assess whether it will be behind closed or open doors."

Eight teams have 13 Serie A games left to play with the remainder having 12.

COMPETITIONS

Four Italian sides are still in European competition, and in the Coppa Italia, semi-final second legs and the final are still to be played.

Serie A side Cagliari said their first team would resume training next Monday, and that players would be divided into small groups to respect social distancing guidelines.

However, the Italian players' union (AIC) has said that teams should not train at present.

"We have denounced the behaviour of some clubs because they even want the players to train during these days.

"The players should also stay at home in this situation," said AIC president Damiano Tommasi. - AFP, REUTERS

Football