NEWS
Saturday March 14 2020
Medics and players: 'Do not resume training'

Club medical staff and the Players Association have joined to threaten a strike if clubs pressure them into resuming training too early into the Coronavirus pandemic.

There have been reports of a clash in the Lega Serie A conference call between Lazio President Claudio Lotito and Juventus patron Andrea Agnelli on how long training should be interrupted.

A joint statement was released by Serie A chief medical staff today, warning they would be prepared to take action if necessary.

“Considering the serious evolution of the COVID-19 infection around the world, the emerging spread of contagion within football and its staff, Serie A medics express their strong concern about protecting the health of club employees should training and other group assemblies be resumed soon.

“Therefore, unanimously, the medics advise that we do not resume training until a clear improvement of the emergency situation.”

We have already seen nine Serie A players at Juventus, Sampdoria and Fiorentina test positive for Coronavirus, along with some members of their staff.

Lazio medic Doctor Ivo Pulcini told Radio Radio that they decided to halt everything until March 21.

“Some colleagues will find themselves on Monday facing owners of clubs who absolutely want to resume training. This is very worrying when it comes to protecting everyone’s health.

“If training were to resume, we have threatened unanimously to resign as medical staff for our clubs.”

The Italian Players’ Association (AIC) have also released a statement after apparent pressure to get back to training next week.

“Despite the indication from the Prime Minister with urgent measures to contain the contagion, we are sad and indignant to see yet again some clubs are behaving unwisely and out of any national or international advice, continuing to call players to take part in training in small groups or, worse still, travel to have their temperature checked daily.

“If clubs in Italy call players in just to have them tested for a fever or not, forcing them to leave their homes, interact with people and different places just for something that could be easily communicated over the phone, it is a shamefully irresponsible act.

“If clubs call players in, they have to explain what national interest there is in keeping athletes in top condition when it’s predicted they won’t resume playing until at least mid-April! This means they are living on another planet.

“If, finally, the call is made to force players who refuse to have their pay docked, then we really are scraping the bottom of the barrel when it comes to dignity.

“To sum up, in Italy there are still some football clubs who are either shamefully irresponsible, live on Mars, or are missing even the slightest morsel of dignity.”

Serie A football is shut down in Italy until at least April 3, but that was only ever a placemark date.

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