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Serie A to resume June 20

Rome, May 28 (efe-epa).- Italy’s sports minister said Thursday that the Serie A season can resume on June 20, more than three months after play was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic,

“Serie A starts again on June 20, my hope is that the Coppa Italia can be played in the previous week,” Vincenzo Spadafora said after meeting with Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.

Spadafora secured the premier’s approval after working out the details in a videoconference with Italian Soccer Federation (FIGC) president Gabriele Gravina, Serie A chief Paolo Dal Pino, player representatives and the head of the association of team doctors.

The Technical Scientific Committee (CTS) that has been advising the Italian government on the handling of the Covid-19 pandemic signed-off on the plan.

“Football was going to restart when we had the right safety conditions and when the CTS would give the go-ahead to the protocols,” the minister said. “Italy is starting again and it is only right that football should do the same.”

As has been the case in Germany, where the Bundesliga resumed action on May 16, Serie A contests will take place behind closed doors. No more than 300 people are to be allowed inside the stadiums.

Serie A has alternative mechanisms ready to deploy in the event that play is suspended again, he said.

“The FIGC also assured me that the Plan B (playoffs and play-outs) and Plan C (current standings) can be adopted in case of suspension. It is not up to me as sports minister to decide, it will be decided by the FIGC,” Spadafora said.

FIGC executives said last week that one possible scenario in the event of another interruption would be to decide the Serie A championship through a playoff. At the other end of the table, a “play-out” would determine the three teams to be relegated to Serie B.

And if it proved impossible to continue with the 2019-2020 season, the FIGC directors would establish “objective co-efficients” to proclaim a Serie A winner and consign three clubs to relegation.

“My hope is that the Coppa Italia will be played from June 13 to June 20, before the league starts again on June 20,” Spadafora said Thursday.

The shutdown of professional sports came between the first and second legs of the Coppa semifinals, leaving AC Milan and Juventus level at 1-1 and Napoli with a 1-0 edge over Inter Milan thanks to an away goal at the San Siro.

Serie A fans were enjoying one of the tightest title races in years when play was halted March 9, when Juve led Lazio by just a point with 12 matches left.

Spadafora’s announcement came hours after news that the English Premier League will return to action on June 17. Earlier this week, Spain’s LaLiga set a date of June 8 to pick up where they left off in March.

In France, the government’s ban on public gatherings through mid-July prompted Ligue 1 to cancel the balance of the season and award the title to leaders Paris Saint-Germain. EFE

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