Tuesday May 5 2020
Capello: 'World Cup style retreats'

Fabio Capello suggests a World Cup-style 40-day training retreat for all Serie A clubs, as three southern cities open up to hosting fixtures away from the COVID-19 hotspots.

Most teams returned to training this week, albeit keeping social distancing measures and undergoing intensive testing with both swabs and blood samples.

The pandemic is easing considerably in Italy and the country moved into Phase Two on Monday, easing the lockdown restrictions, but it’s not yet clear how and indeed if the Serie A season will resume.

An idea gaining traction is to use neutral venues, so keep the fixtures in a few southern and central cities to limit travel and keep players away from the worst-affected areas.

The Mayors of Bari, Naples and Palermo have already stepped forward to offer their services, assuring the stadiums and local hotels could welcome clubs.

“We should think of it like a World Cup, so keep the squad locked away for 40 days to complete the season,” former England manager Capello told Radio 1.

“I would personally be in favour of allowing four or five substitutions, especially if they play every three days, but I hear this option was rejected straight away.”

As the games will be behind closed doors anyway, the home advantage will effectively be neutralised, so playing in neutral venues should not be too damaging to form.

With the statistics released on Monday, there have been 29,079 deaths in Italy from COVID-19, with 14,294 of those in Lombardy.

The next worst hit were Emilia-Romagna (3,666), Piedmont (3,186), Veneto (1,528) and Tuscany (1,221), but all the other regions had fewer than 1,000 deaths.

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