Sunday October 4 2020
Juventus v Nobody

After some of the craziest 24 hours in the history of Italian Football, Juventus arrived at their home ground with a line-up for a game they knew would not be played. Lorenzo Bettoni writes from the Allianz Stadium.

It was supposed to be Juventus-Napoli, an early big match in Serie A and the first time Gennaro Gattuso faced against his old friend Andrea Pirlo, but not only that. A revamped Azzurri side against the Old Lady of Italian football who wants to close the perfect domestic decade lead by one of the man who begun an incredible winning streak of Serie A titles from the pitch. It was to be a very different night.

Juve have been following their daily matchday routine as if nothing had happened in the previous 24 hours. The players, who are in self-isolation at the J Hotel after two of the staff members tested positive, trained in the morning at the Continassa, then had lunch and went to the Allianz Stadium by bus, which is just metres away from their training centre.

Outside the Stadium, nothing could indicate that this night would have been different from many others when games are usually played. Regular accreditation process, regular health checks at the stadium’s gates, Juventus had even invited the 1,000 fans that are allowed to watch the game from the stands of the Stadium. About 100 of them showed up.

Despite that, everyone knew there would be no match. The regular Juventus schedule was only interrupted when the players were about to leave their dressing room for the warm-up training. The likes of Weston McKennie and Leonardo Bonucci appeared just outside the dressing room door through the monitor screen where a message said: “Awaiting arrival of away team.” Which never arrived, because they were on the other side of the country.

Only Igor Tudor, Gigi Buffon and a couple of staff members entered the pitch before Andrea Agnelli’s interview to Sky Sport Italia and his successive press conference for us journalists at the Stadium.

So, why all the pantomime? Juventus believe Napoli breached the Serie A protocol that was approved only a few days ago and Pirlo’s team needed to show up to demand a 3-0 win by default.

Napoli, as is widely known, didn’t travel to Turin following a statement of the local health authority (ASL) on Saturday night that told the Partenopei to self-isolate after they had had two players and one member of the staff who tested positive for Covid-19. Technically, not a ban from travelling, but the ASL came back later on Sunday to say it specifically prohibited Napoli to travel to Turin.

It is a matter of fact that Napoli have been facing the same situation that many other clubs in Italy and Europe are living. Anyway, none of them were prevented from playing, apart from Napoli’s last Serie A opponents Genoa, who have had a massive outbreak with 22 people who tested positive for Coronavirus, 17 of whom are footballers.

The trouble is, Serie A copied the UEFA protocols stating that if a team has 13 players, including at least one goalkeeper, the match can go ahead. The Serie A protocol, however, also states that local health authorities or Government can over-ride their rules if travel is banned.

Napoli did not help their case when mentioning absolutely nothing about the situation on their website, Twitter or with a formal statement. Juventus acted as if nothing had happened, so did the Partenopei, and fans were left confused, wondering if they were going insane.

Many doubts, only one sure thing: this was another sad day for Italian football and even if Juventus-Napoli was not played, the game is going to drag on off the field and in the halls of power.

Have your say...
I dont get the point of this article.Two cases and one staff, they can play,but Napoli health authorities decides no travel,they did this to proctect their city, Turin,and the cities in between,basically they acted like a health professional should do.they acted to the benefit of the whole society.Remember all it takes one case to be unseen in the game and you get a COVID19 fiasco. Was not that the case in Atalanta vs Valencia that played a major part in the last outbreak?
on the 13th October, 2020 at 6:12am

That's okay, I can clearly hear your pathetic whining loud and clear.

Have fun instigating and making inane accusations here all year long, I'm done feeding 1D trolls like you.
on the 8th October, 2020 at 6:16am
Confidence is silent, insecurity is loud.
And we all hear you quite loudly and if i may add sadly as well.
on the 7th October, 2020 at 10:59pm
@TorreDG You and thousand other hive-minded minions having a laughable excuse of a personality, just like whatever pathetic club(s) your possé support, is exactly what's wrong with Calcio and Italy in general. Instead of accepting fair is fair, your whiny, moronic excuses and droning on about “Hurr Juventus cheat/pay referees/drink blood of babies Durr” make a donkey's braying sound like Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. 
on the 7th October, 2020 at 8:09pm
I am delighted to know that you are the guardian of blog banter on this website along with being a defender of Juve pomposity. If there is one blogger who needs censorship, a look in the mirror is warranted. For over 50 years the wealthiest club in Italy has earned the right of favoritism as well as the ability to buy whatever it takes to succeed. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately games are still won on the pitch. So now competition causes fear in Turin as other teams threaten.
on the 7th October, 2020 at 6:04pm
You can shut your eyes, cover your ears, turn yourself on your head & spin circles on floor...
--But one was still a SHOT on goal & the other one a PASS.

You made the two incidents seem completely identical when they weren't so I corrected you (because maybe someone didn't watch the match).

What I believe (whether both should be yellows, none, or reversed) is irrevelant.

I should've listened to "The Grand Old Lady Rocks to JUVE"'s Mark Twain quote.)
on the 7th October, 2020 at 5:43pm
Having all I said about Napoli, I wish everybody safety and good health.
on the 7th October, 2020 at 5:14pm
In this case Napoli is the wrong side and nothing wrong with Juve, and I'm an Inter fan! Beside what already @Pinturicchio mentioned, which I agree, why Napoli even didn't try to communicate properly? I'm suspicious that it was planned and they made that two positive cases their ultimate excuse. Point(s) wasted for Napoli imo.
on the 7th October, 2020 at 5:12pm
On top of A. Milik story I guess eldering ADL is getting closer and closer to being an idiot.
on the 7th October, 2020 at 5:04pm
Rodrigo Bentancur, Juan Cuadrado, Danilo, Paulo Dybala and Cristiano Ronaldo facing 3-12 years in jail for breaking Article 650 and leaving the 'bubble' to leave the country and join their national teams.
on the 7th October, 2020 at 4:39pm
Ouch it hurts! Being called a cheat for following protocol and showing up for the scheduled game. Jealous much that the most successful club is the most well run. On the other had ADL is too slow to refurbish the Napoli hotel for the quarantine bubble so he is too cheap to put up the squad in another hotel because the players haven't payed their fines from their revolt last year. Just go back to sueing your players ADL. And Roma can't even organise a Birthday cake. Green eyed haters.
on the 7th October, 2020 at 7:24am
Haha Rabiot's handball shot was nowhere near on target. Both hand balls where unavoidable.
"Two totally different situations!" You sound like someone who wrote these stupid rules yet to stubborn to admit how stupid they are so double down by being exaggerating stupid.
on the 7th October, 2020 at 6:54am
I'm still confident this game will be rescheduled, as Napoli will play the ignorant card: "We didn't know who to listen: Lega's rule or ASL's advice."

But there's a blessing in what happened:
Now, rules can be solidified & clubs won't be able to hide under ASL anymore.

Knowing Serie A & Italians, this incident would've happened anyway later on WITH ANY CLUB, especially with stakes getting higher (Scudetto, CL places, relegations.)

Had ASL contacted Napoli FIRST, I'd be on Napoli's side!
on the 7th October, 2020 at 4:36am
ASL will take the blame, but I sincerely hope Juve uses their "influence" & registers a 3-0 win, while Napoli gets additional point deduction/s.

Playing a rescheduled game midweek will hurt Scudetto & CL chasing Juve more than EL playing Napoli.

I respect every "saint" who says Napoli did the "right" thing
--But only if you also add that Serie A & other sports should be cancelled & never played in the first place...
Because with a standard "2-week quarantine" rule, they cannot play.
on the 7th October, 2020 at 3:58am
So why did ADL do this?

My guess is, he blames Juve for ruining Milik's transfer to Roma.
He probably thought there was a "gentleman's" agreement between the 3 clubs & with a bit more time he'd pressure Arek to Rome... --But Juve took Morata & ruined everything.
Now, Napoli is stuck with Milik & will lose him for peanuts in January.

So egomaniacal Frog pulled this childish tantrum to show that he too can go back on his "promises" - (The agreement clubs made on how to play this season.)
on the 7th October, 2020 at 3:15am
Even before Juve accused them of doing it, I was certain Napoli contacted some health organisation to protect themselves.

Of course ASL's advice was to quarantine for two weeks --it's THE ONLY safe option!
They would never say it's safe to travel, as they can't guarantee that with this virus's incubation time.

NAPOLI didn't want to play.
It is obvious.

If Meret & Di Lorenzo got banned from NT, it is because Napoli continues to protect their charade!
on the 7th October, 2020 at 2:36am
For those lacking imagination or common sense:

Zaniolo's girlfriend tests positive for COVID-19...
A day before, Nicolo was in contact with Roma's physio,
Physio was in contact with Dzeko,
& Dzeko played against Inter...

Per regular safe rules, as precaution,
BOTH TEAMS go into a 2-week quarantine...
& because of midweek plays both miss FIVE GAMES!

After 2 weeks, Roma & Inter return...
--But now their opponents, Milan & Lazio, are in quarantine!

To PLAY football there must be COMPROMISE.
on the 7th October, 2020 at 1:50am
Before the season began, clubs discussed how to approach it; They expected infections to happen & they agreed on how to act.

(Almost) every club ALREADY HAS or HAD someone COVID positive or someone who was in contact with an infected person...
And as per agreed protocols, none of these teams went into a 2-week quarantine!!!

FI should create a special CORONA LIVEBLOG that would refresh with news when someone from Serie A gets COVID-19 or when a player comes back from beating the infection.
on the 7th October, 2020 at 1:43am
Dear "saints",

We all know that the protocol football clubs agreed on is NOT SAFE & therefore "wrong"...

But... It is
to play!!!

Teams can't afford to go into 2-week quarantines when someone from their staff gets in contact with an infected person.
They SHOULD, but rules have been bent for them. (Money/ power can do that.)

Clubs pushed for these new protocols so that they can try to finish the season (& get money from TV-rights, UEFA, etc.
They know they are being unsafe.
on the 7th October, 2020 at 1:39am
Some of you mentioned things that regard Roma...

1. Juventus not in form? LOL
--Because they almost lost to ROMA???

Maybe Giallorossi players were offended by Dzeko's choice to leave for Juventus & were motivated by it?
Roma actually has a good first eleven. Drawing them at Olimpico shouldn't be "that" surprising..! --Show some respect.

2. Rabiot stopped A SHOT ON GOAL with his hand-- therefore, yellow card.
Pellegrini handled A PASS --therefore, no yellow.
Two totally different situations!
on the 6th October, 2020 at 9:38pm
ADL and Napoli are cheating prima donnas. Celebrate your coppa Italia, you aren't going to win anything bigger than that.
To bully the ASL to giving a travel ban that no other ASL has or would give is disgraceful. A play right out of the Berlusconi play book. Corruption and self interest is still the name of the game in Italy.
on the 6th October, 2020 at 9:14pm
Typical Juventus - always trying to find some way to cheat.
on the 6th October, 2020 at 8:59pm
@Pinturicchio keep whining cheater lmao
on the 6th October, 2020 at 7:44pm
So Napoli just try to make controversy nothin else. The only team in all Europe that can't play their away match with only two cases :) ))))))
on the 6th October, 2020 at 4:50pm
my thoughts exactly, Juve just have to protect their position, if it is then decided to reply, Juve will honour that, if the points are given, that is not Juve's fault
on the 6th October, 2020 at 10:15am
Why are people arguing the higher ground? Fans are deluded, one eyed morons. Just wait for the ruling and get on with it. Don't expect the ruling to be just or make sense. Football has never made sense. Just from the 1st couple of weeks Roma forfeit a game for a name on the wrong list yet the opposition coach is banned but still coaches only gets a fine. Roma-Juve 2 hand balls, 2 penalties only one is a yellow. Fans like it that way so they can moan, groan, victimize while claiming tobe martyrs.
on the 6th October, 2020 at 10:10am
It's disgusting from Football-Italia that under the guise of "no censoring of comments/freedom of speech" cheap/pathetic comments bashing clubs using potshots and name-calling is allowed unabashed on this site...

A (far from exhaustive) list of such:

I miss Luciano Moggi @ Juventus



The collective bunch of 1-dimensional trolls who use the pseudonym "Anonymous"

I guess a site which is no better than Hollywood paparazzi enjoys these malevolent activities for sure.
on the 6th October, 2020 at 9:22am
Noticed the corporate way that J are taking with current Agnelli at helm: it does not look like a football club representing Italy, it seems like another business led by greedy people in order to manipulate the stock market.

Their excuse has always been 'do whatever it takes to win', now looking for ANOTHER undeserved victory. Invinting 1000 fans that are allowed to watch the game from the stands when THEY KNEW this was not happening just demonstrates how deeply evil this club is. Inhuman.
on the 6th October, 2020 at 8:48am
typical responses from Rubentini. Just because their club likes to 'bend the rules' does not mean Napoli should. They followed the law to the letter as will be seen. They were forbidden to travel by law not football rules. There is a difference. They obeyed the law. Let us remember that the National team banned Meret and Di Lorenzo from travelling too prior to the game. Ok to play against Juve but not for Italy! Double standards? Had Ronaldo been infected what would Agnelli say then?
on the 6th October, 2020 at 8:01am
Juve have done nothing wrong & to a point neither has Napoli, except that when it was known that they could not travel Napoli should of made an official statement.

Its not upto Juve to postpone the game, they dont make the rules, they followed the rules as set out by UEFA & Serie A.
The governing body will decide what happens from here, Juve have protected the right to the points by following the rules, this is justified, its not upto Juve to manage Napolis business thats for them to deal with.
on the 6th October, 2020 at 7:48am

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