Italian Players’ Association slam 'discriminatory and illogical' training centres ban

The Italian Players’ Association (AIC) has hit out at the government's decision to allow individual training as of May 4, but deny players the right to do so at their team facilities until May 18.

On Sunday, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte revealed a plan to gradually relax restrictions in the country, which has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. 

As a part of a phased easing of restrictions, the government will allow running in open spaces from May 4 on while athletes in individual sports such as tennis will be allowed to return to their training facilities. 

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But team sports will be banned from using their team facilities until May 18, with Serie A still hoping for a return to the pitch in June. 

This decision has left the AIC feeling "perplexed and surprised", which they emphasised in a statement released on Tuesday.

“The AIC is perplexed and surprised by the government’s decision on resuming sport in Italy,” the statement said. 

“We consider the idea discriminatory and illogical to let individual sporting disciplines enter training grounds, but not professional football – or other team sport – players to undergo individual training in the same way.

“This rule will, if anything, make the risk even greater rather than contain it!

“A professional athlete needs this phase of training after such a long break in order to avoid injuries and be ready to start training in groups from May 18. We don’t see how running in a sports arena built for this purpose is less dangerous than running down the street.

“We hope the government will quickly intervene to eliminate the evident distortions that derive from the application of the decree marked April 26.”

Serie A has been suspended since March and though other leagues, such as those in France and the Netherlands, have already confirmed their 2019-20 seasons are over, the Italian top-flight is still hoping to return.

“Many leagues around Europe have terminated their seasons early, but Serie A is not inclined towards suspending the season or even training. We are receiving very strong pressure to resume," sports minister Vincenzo Spadafora said. 

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