Sunday, October 25, 2020

Coronavirus: Napoli´s request to postpone Juventus match rejected by Serie A

SoccerNews in Serie A 4 Oct 2020

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Napoli’s formal request to have Sunday’s game with Juventus called off due to a coronavirus outbreak has been rejected by Serie A. 

Local health authorities ordered Napoli into quarantine after players Piotr Zielinski and Eljif Elmas tested positive for COVID-19, as well as staff member Giandomenico Costi. 

Juve themselves reported two positive cases among staff on Saturday – revealing their squad were isolating internally as a result – but they later released a statement confirming they intended to play the game. 

But Gennaro Gattuso’s side have not travelled to Turin, asking instead for the game at the Allianz Stadium to be pushed back to another date. 

However, Lega Serie A announced around four hours before the scheduled kick-off that the match is still on as Napoli technically have at least 13 players available for selection. 

It means Juventus are expected to be awarded a 3-0 walkover win, should they turn up and Napoli fail to show.

A statement on the Lega Serie A’s official website read: “Following Napoli’s official request, the Lega Calcio states that the current rules aim to guarantee the health of everybody, the equal treatment for all clubs and the respect of the principles of sportsmanship. 

“The statement of ASL Campania asks fiduciary isolation for the close contacts of Piotr Zielinski. Therefore, in this case it is applied the FIGC (Italian Football Federation) protocol agreed with the Technical-Scientific Committee and integrated with the notice of the Italian Health Minister on June 18, 2020 and that was not taken into account in the email sent by the vice-head of cabinet of the Regione Campania. 

“The same rule was applied to other cases in the past and, for instance, it allowed Torino to play against Atalanta, Milan’s trip to Crotone, Genoa’s away game at the San Paolo v Napoli and Atalanta’s home match against Cagliari. 

“Even if there are cases of players in the group who tested positive for coronavirus, the protocol provides certain and mandatory rules that allow games to be played by fielding all the footballers who tested negative through exams undergone within the time range given by the health authorities. 

“The Council of the Lega Calcio did also approve a set of rules that can lead to the postponement of a game only with several cases of players testing positive for the virus. These conditions can’t be applied to the current Napoli case at the moment and there are no decisions of the local authorities that prevent the game from being played.” 

Meanwhile, Napoli issued a short statement on Sunday to deny rumours that head coach Gattuso had also tested positive for coronavirus.  

Napoli will conduct a further round of testing on Monday, with their next match scheduled for October 17 against Atalanta.

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