Sunday March 8 2020
Minister for Sport: 'Suspend Serie A'

Minister for Sport Vincenzo Spadafora has backed the Players’ Association call for Serie A to be suspended during the Coronavirus outbreak, stalling Parma-SPAL one minute before kick-off.

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The players were literally standing in the tunnel of the Stadio Tardini with the music playing in an empty arena when suddenly everything ground to a halt.

The referees came out and informed them that the Minister for Sport was considering an immediate stop to the Serie A season, so the teams turned back into the dressing room and someone had to go and inform those who were already sitting on the bench.

“I share the views of Damiano Tommasi, President of the Italian Players’ Association, and I unite with his call to suspend the football league,” Minister Spadafora announced this morning, mere minutes before Parma-SPAL was due to kick off behind closed doors.

“It makes no sense at this moment, while we ask our citizens for enormous sacrifices to prevent the spread of the contagion, to risk the health of players, referees, coaches, fans who will certainly gather to see games, just to protect the interests that revolve around the sport.

“Other Federations have wisely decided to suspend football for the next few days. I think it is the duty of the FIGC President Gabriele Gravina to reflect again, without waiting for the first case of a Serie A player infected, before taking on this very serious responsibility.

“After all, even before the situation became so serious for the country, the Lega Serie A and Sky had already refused to allow thousands of Italians, forced against their will to stay at home, to watch the games free to air on television, hiding behind supposed difficulties that with everyone genuinely trying to, would’ve been overcome.

“During yesterday’s negotiations, also thanks to the collaboration of RAI and Mediaset, we had come close to a solution that would’ve been equal for all those involved and above all a source of great comfort for the many citizens who are passionate about football.

“Instead, the economic interests prevailed and demanded privileged treatment that is simply beyond reality. Football clubs should instead evaluate how to overcome the clauses that are already being examined by Antitrust associations so they can refund ticket holders for the upcoming games behind closed doors.

“I will over the next few days take into consideration every initiative, including legislation, to get some order into a world that risks no longer representing the ethical and moral values that we would like sport to always aspire to.”

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