AIC and Lega Serie A row over Coronavirus

The Players’ Association and Minister for Sport reiterate their desire to halt football during the Coronavirus outbreak, but the Lega Serie A warn “contrasting messages from the Government only increase confusion.”

Today’s Serie A games were originally called off last week, then organised behind closed doors, but Parma-SPAL only went ahead after a 75-minute delay thanks to last-ditch negotiations.

A statement was leaked announcing the Players’ Association (AIC) had called a general strike to begin from today, but it emerged that was only a draft resolution.

The matter will be discussed during an emergency meeting on Tuesday, called by the Italian Football Federation (FIGC).

“The leagues should be stopped,” read the confirmed statement.

“The signal that the sporting institutions are sending out is terrible. It’s dangerous to travel to and from the red zones, it’s dangerous to play football, it’s dangerous to shake hands.

“The teams went out and played today unfortunately out of a sense of duty towards those who don’t have the courage to decide that football can no longer pretend the Coronavirus emergency isn’t happening.

“There will be an emergency summit on Tuesday and we expect just one thing, the suspension of the league competitions until it is safe to play.”

Minister for Sport Vincenzo Spadafora also publicly agreed with AIC President Damiano Tommasi, complaining that the Lega Serie A (effectively a union of clubs) and pay-per-view television companies were focused more on money than safety.

With that in mind, the Lega Serie A released its own statement this evening.

“Since the first day of this national emergency, the Lega Serie A has always respected all the indications given by the Government, even when they have been sent out in vague and contrasting fashion.

“Today as well, the Lega Serie A stuck firmly to the Government decree that was released early this morning by Prime Minister Conte, which confirmed that all games can be played behind closed doors.

“The delay in kick-off for Parma-SPAL was down to the FIGC requesting an urgent confrontation on the requests of the Players’ Association. Contravening what was in the Government decree, a few minutes before the game was due to begin, the AIC asked for the suspension of the league and threatened a general strike.

“This request put the whole system under serious threat, threatening also the payment of their salaries. The Lega Serie A reiterated it would stand by the latest Government decree, which allows games to be played behind closed doors.

“The reiterated and contrasting statements from the Government only serve to increase the general state of confusion and certainly do not help the football system to overcome this general moment of difficulty created by the virus.”

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