Italian health official casts doubt on quick Serie A restart

A leading Italian health official says he does not see how Serie A, which has been suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, could resume in the next few weeks. Italy football federation (FIGC) head Gabriele Gravina said on Saturday he hoped teams could begin training in May — provided players tested negative for the new coronavirus — with the first games possibly coming at the end of that month. However, Giovanni Rezza, director of infectious diseases at the Italian National Institute of Health (ISS), disagreed. “If I had to give a technical report, it would not be favourable,” he told reporters. “Football is a contact sport with a risk of transmission. “They have proposed a close monitoring of the players with almost daily tests, although, honestly, to me that seems to be stretching things a little. And we are almost into May already.” However, at the end of the day it was not his call, he said. “It will be the politicians who decide,” added Rezza. “It’s a difficult decision to take because of the health implications.” Serie A has been on hold since March 9, with players at several clubs testing positive for COVID-19, which has killed more than 113,000 people globally. The FIGC said last week it had begun drawing up medical guidelines for a re-start of the championship. Its medical council is due to meet again on Wednesday.

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