Monday June 1 2020
Gravina keeps 'moving forward'

FIGC President Gabriele Gravina reveals he was worried when Ligue 1 was cancelled, explains the debated algorithm, talks up Minister of Sport Vincenzo Spadafora and hopes to see fans in stadiums this summer.

Serie A is looking ahead and continues to work on the resumption of football, but the FIGC chief underlines that the governing bodies are aware of the risks involved with the restart of activities.

“The most difficult day was when France announced the definitive stop of its championship. When one of the big five is lost on the international scene, you know that it can weigh on you,” Gravina told Radio 24.

“But we have always kept the bar straight and, coordinating with UEFA, we have moved forward.

“Now, we go forward aware of the risks, which are not only related to the epidemiological curve but also related to our world.

“The last two to three months have meant that each of us has been able to develop antibodies and acquire energy to try to reach the conclusion of these tournaments.

“Then we’ll restart the new season with greater serenity.”

Despite that, teams in Serie A have already voiced their concern regarding the team quarantine in the event of a positive case.

“Football has never asked for shortcuts or discounts. Today, there are clear rules, which allow you to continue your activity, isolating an athlete or a professional member of staff, continuing your training.

“We know that this rule is foreseen. The hope is that shortly, a week before the start of the tournaments, it can be re-evaluated.

“We will send a new proposal, in the hope that this rule will be revisited. Today, theoretically, but probably also in practice, it creates great anxiety and concern.”

And one of the hypotheses in the event of another stop has been to assign the Scudetto through an algorithm, creating widespread debate in Italy.

“Yes, someone said that the kite rises against the wind. Now, the kite is the world of football. We know there are problems, we must demonstrate that we are able to offer credible solutions, ones that are common and easy to apply.

“I’m sorry that this word gave the idea of a sort of magic potion, which could upset sporting merit. Instead, it’s simply a systematic calculation procedure. It’s a method to weigh up the classification.

“It makes me laugh that, in our country, we like to dwell on expressions that are simply devoted to finding balance and giving certainties.

“I used this term some time ago, then strangely it was taken up by the British to determine games. There it works, yet for us the algorithm is a cause for concern.

“It’s nothing more than a way to ensure that, before the league starts again, and in any case applying a minimum criteria of having played three or four games to know the state of affairs when you intervene, everyone is under the same conditions.

“I don’t know if between three or four rounds of fixture that everyone will have played the same number of games. What do we want to do, freeze the table, and not take into account that someone has played less and is penalised for that?

“I ask this question to those who are surprised and shouted at the scandal of the algorithm. It’s a way to make football an instrument that puts us all in the same conditions.

“The British are doing it, it’s not a clear advantage, but it takes many factors into account, such as home games, away matches, games to play, goals scored and conceded, which give a principle of fairness to a table that must be balanced out if needed.

“It’s a sort of assurance on the conduct of the championship because I’m convinced that if we all continue to apply the same rules, also giving a civil and moral testimony, which I hope each of us has, it should come to a conclusion without further shocks.”

Gravina continued to talk about his rapport with Minister of Sport Spadafora during these testing times.

“It was excellent, constantly. His prudence was strategical, tactical if you like, which allowed football to arrive in the best conditions to be able to say that we can start again today.

“Together we shared two fundamental principles - that football had to resume when our country resumed. We never asked for preferential channels.

“And then, prudently, protecting everyone’s health. These two elements, combined, inspired the Minister. It’s useless to hide that there were moments of tension, but it happened because there was a desire to accelerate a process that, I must say, would have been harmful to our system, considering some positivity risks.

“Today, the result has come thanks to the decisive work of Minister Spadafora and the contributions of the CTS. I hope that, with the same capacity for dialogue and comparison, especially in the case of the CTS, some small restrictions still weighing us down will be lifted.”

Lega Serie A and the FIGC have reportedly asked to open stadiums from July, hoping to continue with some fans in the stands following social distancing measures.

“It’s a wish, I wish it from my heart. I’m following the trend within theatres and arenas for cultural events. It’s unthinkable that, with all precautions, in a stadium holding 60,000 or 80,000, there cannot be a minimum percentage of people.

“I hope that even in this way there will be a sign of hope for the country, which would reward many football fans.”

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