Tuesday May 12 2020
Medics 'threaten to resign' over protocol

The return of Serie A is still far from certain, because the association of club medics warn ‘many are threatening to resign if they are considered legally responsible’ for players catching COVID-19.

The Government and the CTS (scientific committee) sent back the medical protocol for Serie A contact training with some changes required before it can begin on May 18.

Those are that if anyone – player or member of staff – tests positive for coronavirus, the entire group then has to go into quarantine for 15 days, and that if there is a positive test, the club doctor will be held accountable for it.

“We already alerted the legal team working with our association after reading the protocol,” President of the Association of Medics in Football Enrico Castellacci told Radio Punto Nuovo.

“I received many messages from Serie B colleagues who are threatening to resign in case the issue of responsibility is not revised, as it’d turn into a legal matter. The clubs must take their own share of the responsibility.

“We must nominate some competent medics who can be associated with football medics to respect the guidelines, because this is a difficult situation and has to be evaluated very carefully.”

The Serie A protocol is different to the Bundesliga one, where if there is a positive case, only that person is quarantined rather than the entire group.

It means that in Italy if one member of staff catches the coronavirus, everyone has to go into lockdown and effectively ends their season.

“The quarantine creates a huge handicap and it would’ve been easier to follow the German model,” continued former Italy chief medic Castellacci.

“We could’ve isolated just the player who was infected, made the necessary other tests and got training back on track. Here we are thinking about starting the games, but also not ruling out closing it again straight away.”

The squads and their staff are expected to spend the next few months in a form of quarantine anyway, locked away in hotels and training grounds to keep the risk of infection low.

“The problem is that once we begin away games, the danger of infection is far higher. Just one player can block the whole campaign. This creates some real confusion as to whether they want the season to go ahead at all, so we need some clarity.”