Saturday May 16 2020
Sassuolo: 'Serie A risks going under'

Sassuolo director Giovanni Carnevali insists many clubs ‘risk bankruptcy’ if the season doesn’t come to a natural conclusion. ‘We all have to focus on ensuring Serie A doesn’t go under.’

Just 24 hours after the medical protocol was agreed between the Government and the FIGC, on Thursday the Lega Serie A and Players’ Association demanded fundamental changes.

The main sticking point remains whether to quarantine the entire squad for 15 days in case of a positive COVID-19 test, or only the person who has contracted the virus.

“Everywhere we turn, there is confusion and bitterness,” Carnevali told the Corriere dello Sport.

“The requirements for a training retreat are too rigid. Let me just say this: if we want to let football die, then we are on the right track. It’s madness here.

“I realise we’re in an unprecedented situation, but why create such confusion on top of it? Unfortunately, Italians have it in their culture to always look out for themselves and not help each other out. We look to the here and now, not with a vision of the future. We need planning and organisation from the top down.

“Sassuolo, and all the other Serie A clubs, have already stated we want this season to be brought to a natural conclusion at all costs. If some secretly want to call a halt because their position in the table is bad, then let them come forth and confess it.

“The fact is, we all have to focus on ensuring Serie A doesn’t go under. There is one football industry in this country and if we don’t get back to playing, it’s going to be a disaster. If Serie A fails, it’ll take the whole Italian football system with it.”

Carnevali revived his attack on the Minister for Sport Vincenzo Spadafora and the Government approach to the entire situation.

“We’re meant to start group training on Monday, we don’t have a clear protocol for that, let alone for when the games resume. Do you know what I think? I get the impression, based on the latest modifications to the protocol, that there is no real desire to favour this season resuming at all.

“We all have to find a way to live with this damned virus in the best possible way. The way the protocol is written right now, Italian football cannot resume.

“I believe the protocol should be written by clubs, directors and Serie A, not by Ministers and Federations who don’t even consult us. If they don’t really want us to get back on the pitch, then say so, don’t just try to give us scraps.

“We’re still in time to fix this and anyone who says we’re not just doesn’t want to get on the pitch. All we need is a little common sense.”

Another big problem with the protocol is holding the club medic liable for any coronavirus infection.

“How are we supposed to know if a player picked it up while training or at home? My players know they have to face some risks for the good of football, just as in any work environment.

“The fans have to accept it too, because otherwise there is the very strong risk that many clubs will go bankrupt and we lose football entirely.”

Carnevali is concerned about the potential for some clubs to block the season early or bend the rules.

“Everything must be organised in the utmost transparency. The problem is that someone could hide a positive COVID-19 case and pretend it’s an injury, because they want the season to continue. Someone else could announce a positive test because they want the campaign to stop.”

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