Coronavirus: Serie A clubs handed training boost

As well as reopening parks, gardens and cemeteries to the public, the region has also declared individual sport training sessions can start up again.

Parma stars could return to training on May 4   -  Getty Images

Four Serie A clubs could resume training on Monday after the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy relaxed its lockdown rules.

As well as reopening parks, gardens and cemeteries to the public, the region has also declared individual sport training sessions can start up again.

That could be good news for top-flight clubs Bologna, Parma, Sassuolo and SPAL, although central government could yet overrule the regional guidance.

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In a statement issued on its website on Friday, the Emilia-Romagna local authority listed various ways in which it intended to lift coronavirus restrictions from May 4.

The statement included the following: "Green light also for the training in individual form of professional and non-professional athletes recognised by the Italian National Olympic Committee, by the Italian Paralympic Committee and by their respective federations, in compliance with the rules of social distancing and without any gatherings in closed-door structures, also for athletes of non-individual sports disciplines."

The move by regional governor Stefano Bonaccini represents a significant shift in a country that has been hit hard by the global pandemic.

Southern giant Napoli is also planning to return to training as their safety proposals have received the backing of local authorities.

Friday’s league meeting also addressed the issue of TV rights, but no resolutions were adopted concerning broadcasters Sky, DAZN and IMG, with a final payment estimated at 340 million euros ($370 million) for the current season, due to be paid in May.

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If the government did decide to pull the plug on the season it would have the support of a country traumatised by over 28,000 coronavirus deaths.

According to a recent survey, two out of three Italians would support a stoppage, in particular in the northern epicentre, stronghold of heavyweights Juventus, Inter Milan and AC Milan and Atalanta.

Reports in Italy have said clubs could yet be barred from welcoming back their players on Monday, after the national government's regional affairs minister Stefano Boccia intervened to express opposition when the Calabria region this week announced it would be reopening bars and restaurants.

Prime minister Giuseppe Conte announced last weekend that professional sports teams could resume training on May 18.

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Sports minister Vincenzo Spadafora has urged Serie A teams to focus their energy on next season, after France and the Netherlands became the first high-profile European leagues to abandon the 2019-20 campaign.

Spadafora said on Wednesday: "I always said that resuming training absolutely does not mean resuming the season."

With inputs from AFP

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