Italian Serie A football league votes to start play, pending government approval

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ROME May 14 — The teams in Italy’s top football league voted Wednesday to restart the season on June 13, pending government approvals and rules on medical protocols, reported Xinhua news agency.

Italy’s top-flight, Serie A, announced Wednesday that all 20 teams voted in favor of restarting in June – despite the handful of teams from the northern part of the country hardest hit by the coronavirus outbreak expressing doubts about restarting the season. Four teams voted in favour of restarting June 20, but the other 16 voted in favor of restarting June 13.

The vote is the biggest step yet towards reopening the Serie A season suspended under the terms of Italy’s ten-week-old national coronavirus lockdown. The government is still debating the measures that must be put into place in order for the season to play out the remainder of its schedule.

This is the first time league members have decided on a specific date they want to restart the season.

The final games before the lockdown were played on March 8, the day before Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced the country’s nationwide lockdown. A total of 114 scheduled regular-season games have been left unplayed.

Serie A football players have been allowed to train on their own using team facilities since May 4, and on May 18 they will be allowed to train together.

The vote now puts the ball on the government’s side of the field, to decide on the terms and protocols that must be followed for the league to restart. Before Wednesday’s league vote, Italian Minister of Sport Vincenzo Spadafora echoed the terms agreed to by the Serie A teams a few hours later, saying that play could only restart “when safety measures and protocols are respected.” Spadafora did not say when those protocols would be finalised.

–BERNAMA