The Serie A game between Juvenuts and Napoli, previously scheduled to be played on Sunday, October 4th, has been postponed to be played at a later date.
The Napoli team was supposed to travel from Naples to Turin on Saturday, but were told by the local health authorities not to do so after two of their players tested positive to Covid-19. The situation became rather chaotic after that.
Napoli had asked for the match to be postponed, but their request had been initially rejected. From that point on, they were in danger of being declared to have forfeited the match, in which case Juventus would have been declared winners by the official scoreline of 3-0.
The league explained their decision by stating that the Naples Health Authorities (ASL) had failed to take into account the protocol agreed between the Italy’s health and sports ministry on one side and the football authorities on the other.
The protocol states that a team may still play their matches despite players being tested positive, providing the rest of the squad are tested immediately afterwards and return negative results. It also says that a team can play its matches if they have at least 13 players available, of which one is a goalkeeper. Teams have, however, the right to ask for postponement without forfeiting if more than 10 players are tested positive.
Juventus carried on as usual, with their posts on social media suggesting the game would be played, and they even released their starting line-up to take on the visitors which they knew weren’t coming. Their players arrived to the Allianz Stadium and went through the warmup process, ready to play. Many believe the Serie A champions acted in that way in order to force the three points to be awarded to them without a ball being kicked.
— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) October 4, 2020
Juventus president Andrea Agnelli certainly appeared to be angling for that outcome.
“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, and based on his decision, there will be further reflections,” he said.
“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.”
Mr. Agnelli probably should have considered the image this obvious lack of empathy towards an opponent, for a situation completely beyond their control, gives to the club he runs and represents.
However, the Juventus squad are now in a ‘bubble’ themselves, after two members of the non-playing staff were tested positive, and as reported by the BBC on Monday morning, a decision has been reached that the match is postponed to be played at a later date.
This situation has clearly shown that the lines of communication between health and sports authorities, both national and international, have to be open and perfectly clear at all times and on every level if football, as well as other sports, is to continue being played through the raging pandemic. It was a test for the system in place, and it can’t be said to have passed with flying colors.
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