'No way for now' - Sports minister says Serie A is nowhere near restart

Goal.com

Italian Sports Minister Vincenzo Spadafora has reminded Serie A clubs that players will only be able work individually or in small groups when they return to training on Monday, with no firm date for a restart of the league in sight.

Clubs and players are preparing for a return after the government brought forward the easing of lockdown restrictions for team sports.

The government had initially declared only athletes involved in individual sport can begin training again, with team sports having to wait a further two weeks. However, it was later confirmed that the government had given team sports the go-ahead to return provided players train alone or in small groups.

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Sassulo and Roma were among the first clubs to confirm they were going to begin individual training sessions and medical assessments next week after their regions lifted restrictions. Meanwhile Juventus have asked their players who are currently abroad to return to Italy as soon as possible in preparation for a resumption.

In response to those reports, Spadafora reminded teams that his initial advice regarding team training still applied and there are no imminent plans for a return to competitive action.

"I'm reading strange things but nothing has changed compared to what I have always said about football: the teams' training will not resume before 18 May. The resumption of the league? No way for now,” he wrote on Facebook.

“Now excuse me but I need to go back back to take care of all other sports and sports centres (gyms, dance centres, swimming pools, etc...) that need to reopen as soon as possible!”

Though his comments initially caused confusion, it was later confirmed that they referred to training in large groups, with players still able to begin individual training programmes from Monday.

Serie A has been suspended since March because of the coronavirus pandemic, but the resumption of training is a significant first step towards a restart.

All 20 Serie A clubs voted to resume the season whenever possible at an emergency meeting on Friday, though that remains subject to government approval.

France's Ligue 1 and the Dutch Eredivisie have both ended their seasons after football and other large gatherings were banned until September, while hopes in Germany that Bundesliga could resume this month have been held up on official health advice.

Spain’s La Liga and England’s Premier League have also expressed their desire to resume the 2019-20 campaign as soon as it is safe to do so.

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