Sunday March 22 2020
Cellino: 'Let Lazio have title, this is the plague'

Brescia President Massimo Cellino insists the 2019-20 Serie A season is over due to the Coronavirus. “If Lazio want the Scudetto, let them have it. This is the plague.”

The entire country is in shutdown, as last night the Government announced even more restrictive measures, shutting down all non-essential businesses to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

It has killed over 4,000 people in Italy, so Cellino hit out at those who want to resume training next week, above all Lazio and Napoli.

“Don’t be daft, how can we resume the season? I am thinking of next term and only that,” Cellino told the Corriere dello Sport.

“The Coppa Italia, the Scudetto… if Claudio Lotito wants it, he can have it. He’s convinced that his team is unbeatable, so let him keep that belief. How can we be sitting here talking about the Serie A title when we have a plague on our doorstep? I couldn’t care less about football right now.”

Brescia and Bergamo are two of the towns hardest hit by the pandemic in Italy, so the eternal rivals for once feel united in this battle.

“I continually receive news from Brescia and it’s just incredible, yet the city is facing this tragedy such dignity that it makes you feel helpless. These people have parents, relatives, friends who die every day, yet they suffer terribly in silence. If this had happened elsewhere, it would’ve been a revolution.

“Life comes first. We cannot play again this season. Some don’t realise yet what is happening and those people are worse than the virus. I don’t believe in miracles, I stopped that a long time ago, so let’s press the reset button.

“We cannot think about when we’ll resume, but if we’ll survive at all. Be realistic, people. This is the plague.”

There is the financial burden of terminating the season early, but Cellino believes he has found the solution to that too.

“We played two thirds of the season, one third is missing. This season is over, so if someone wants the damn Scudetto, let them have it. And I am not saying that because we are bottom of the table. We’re last because we deserve it. I am the first to admit that.

“Let the others do what they want. I think of those who are losing their jobs, who are dying every single day… Football is a business, but it is one equipped to survive this crisis.

“It’s very simple: we scrapped a third of the season, so we cut a third off the player wages, a third off the TV rights and a third off the taxes. It’s the easiest way to fix everything.”

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