Italian government agrees to loosen football quarantine rule - reports

If a footballer tests positive for COVID-19, the player must be isolated but the rest of the squad can continue training and playing.

Stadio San Paolo is sanitised ahead of the second leg of the Coppa Italia semifinal between Napoli and Inter Milan.   -  REUTERS

The Italian government has agreed to loosen its coronavirus quarantine rule for professional football which had left the chances of completing the current season hanging in the balance, according to La Repubblica and other media on Friday.

The reports said the government’s technical-scientific committee agreed that if a footballer tests positive for COVID-19, the player must be isolated but the rest of the squad can continue training and playing, provided they all test negative. This is the same rule used in Germany’s Bundesliga and other countries where seasons have restarted.

Previously, the whole squad would have had to go into quarantine for 14 days, forcing their matches during that period to be postponed. Football officials had argued that if players at several clubs tested positive, it would have become impossible to finish the season.

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There was no immediate confirmation from the government or the Italian Football Federation (FIGC), whose president Gabriele Gravina had described the old rule as “excessive.”

The Italian season, suspended on March 9, was due to restart later on Friday with a Coppa Italia semifinal second leg between Juventus and AC Milan. Napoli hosts Inter Milan in the other tie on Saturday with the final the following Wednesday.

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The Serie A season will restart on June 20 and is set to finish on August 2, with 12 rounds of matches being played in six weeks.

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