Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Coronavirus protocols very clear – Juventus president Agnelli responds to Napoli no-show

SoccerNews in Serie A 5 Oct 2020

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Juventus president Andrea Agnelli insisted coronavirus protocols are “very clear” after Napoli did not travel for the Serie A blockbuster amid COVID-19 cases.

Napoli are reportedly facing a 3-0 forfeit after Gennaro Gattuso’s side did not make the trip to Turin for Sunday’s showdown against champions Juventus.

High-flying Napoli were advised not to travel by local health authorities after Piotr Zielinski, Eljif Elmas and staff member Giandomenico Costi tested positive for COVID-19.

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.

However, four hours before the scheduled kick-off time on Sunday, Serie A rejected Napoli’s formal request to have the game postponed, as the club technically had at least 13 players available.

Juve still arrived at Allianz Stadium and named a starting XI, though Andrea Pirlo’s team did not warm up on the pitch or come out at scheduled.

“I am here because it is only right that we express our opinion,” said Agnelli. “We need clarity. There are protocols that are very clear for situations like this, the situation was predictable, that there would be one or two COVID cases in the matchday squad.

“At that point, we go to the protocol passed by the CTS and the Lega Serie A, which is that we go into fiduciary isolation at a structure agreed with the ASL.

“That allows us all to go into the structure, to continue training and playing when tested regularly. There is clarity, the Federation worked well with the Ministry for Health and CTS to make sure we all know what needs to be done.

“Juventus discovered there were two COVID cases yesterday [Saturday], so naturally we all went into the bubble so we’d be ready to play this game.”

“The protocol was drawn up by the government and the CTS,” he added. “If we go into situations with borderline scenarios, then we can look to the protocol and then work out the individual situations.

“The focus remains on public health, of course, but this protocol was drawn up in order to allow us to continue our profession.”

“The sporting rules are… clear and say that if a team does not show up, they face disciplinary sanctions. The sporting judge will speak tomorrow [Monday], and based on his decision, there will be further reflections,” Agnelli continued.

“It is evident that the fact that a team does not reach a stadium to play a planned match does not give a great image of Italian football. We are too provincial, and we are not concerned enough about things happening outside our borders. We are only concerned about internal matters, without understanding the damages that we do the international image of our football.”

Asked if he had contact with Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis, Agnelli said: “His message was to postpone the game, which can well be a legitimate request, but there are some very clear rules and we all have to stick to them.

“Any industry has its rules and if we don’t follow them, that is an error not just as professionals, but as citizens.”

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