Resuming after a four-month break due to the coronavirus pandemic, Italy’s premier football league Serie A is grappling with a negative economic impact that has seen the clubs suffering loss of “more than 100 million Euros.” Revealing the crisis crippling one of the most popular football leagues of the world, the Serie A CEO Luigi De Siervo said that the resumption of the season (from June 20) is providing hopes to thousands looking to come out of the scourge.
“The return of Serie A will give the country a sense of normalcy because many fans wanted football to return. In fact millions of fans in Italy watched the Coppa Italia Coca-Cola Final on TV. We are very satisfied with our preparation and are excited about the return of the Championship. We are also confident about completing the season thanks to a rigid safety protocol made in collaboration with the Italian Football Federation,” said Sierva, replying to questions from Sportstar in an e-mail.
Siervo said the resumption of the country’s favourite sport and subsequent return of the fans to the stadium will help the clubs recover the deficit. “The virus has had a negative economic impact on the revenues of our clubs, without more than 100 million euros in revenues from ticket sales because now the fans cannot enter the stadium. We hope that they can soon return to enjoy matches live. The transfer market in Europe will start in September and so presently it is difficult to pinpoint the impact of the pandemic,” he said.
When asked about the steps Serie A took to get the clubs ready for the resumption of the championship, Siervo said his team worked for weeks to draw up a rigid safety protocol for the teams. “We have worked for many weeks to prepare the return of our Championship and always worked with aim of protecting our Clubs. On June 17 we saw the Napoli-Juventus match in the Coppa Italia Final and that turned out to be a successful experience for the return of football in Italy,” he said.
Elaborating on the safety protocols, the Serie A CEO said, “The players are subjected to continuous medical checks. If a player tested positive for COVID-19, he will be isolated from the group. The rest of the team will continue the sporting activity by increasing the medical checks. Once the player tests negative, he will be able to rejoin the group. Being a part of the Association of European Leagues, we are trying to standardise safety protocols across all European leagues. We established some safety measures to ensure that players never come into contact with untested people in the stadiums. For example, we have cancelled the meetings with the press and the mixed zone and have also stopped the players’ hand shake," he said.
(Serie A is aired live on Sony Ten 2 and Sony Six channels in India)
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