Confusion reigned over one of the top Serie A fixtures of the season as the league said Juventus' home game against Napoli would go ahead on Sunday but the visitors said they were unable to play following positive COVID-19 cases.
The situation left Italian football with the embarrassing prospect that Juventus and match officials would turn up for the game in Turin and be left waiting in vain for Napoli, which said its local authority (ASL) had banned it from travelling.
Under Serie A rules, Juventus would be handed a 3-0 win in the match, which is due to kick off at 20:45 local time (18:45 GMT).
A Napoli spokesman confirmed to Reuters that the team had been placed into isolation and ordered not to travel by its local authority after the positive COVID-19 tests. He said the outfit would challenge any decision to forfeit the game.
However, a Serie A statement, issued less than five hours before the scheduled kick off, said that the ASL had failed to take into account the health protocol agreed between the country's health and sports ministry and the football authorities.
This states that, if players test positive, the rest of the squad can still train and play again providing they are tested again and return negative results. The statement added that several matches had already been played this season after teams had one or more players test positive.
“The protocol lays down certain rules that cannot be deviated from, which allow league matches to be played even in the event of a positive result, deploying players who have tested negative,” it said.
Juventus, which said on Saturday that it would take the field, made a point of saying that it was preparing for the match.
The club said simply “Matchday” in a post on Twitter accompanied by a photograph of forward Cristiano Ronaldo and the time and venue of the match.
Last Sunday, Napoli hosted Genoa, where 17 players have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last week. Genoa's match at home to Torino on Saturday was postponed.
Serie A has ruled that matches should go ahead provided each team has a minimum of 13 players available and that teams who cannot play would suffer a forfeit.
However, teams have the right once in the season to ask for a postponement without forfeiting if 10 players are infected within one week.
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