NEWS
Wednesday January 13 2021
Empoli players ordered to isolate when negative

The ASL in Naples is causing controversy again after the Empoli chief medic confirms three players were ordered to miss the Napoli game despite testing negative for COVID-19.

The order arrived in the hours before the Coppa Italia Round of 16 tie that coach Alessio Dionisi, a member of staff and players Leonardo Mancuso, Roberto Pirrello and Szymon Zurkowski would all have to self-isolate in their hotel.

“We received news last night that on Monday’s flight to Bologna, returning from the Serie B game with Cosenza, there was a person who is positive for COVID-19,” Empoli medic Luca Gatteschi told reporters.

“Up until lunchtime today, we didn’t even know the names of those who were in close contact, so those sitting next to the positive case.

“We had three sets of swabs over the last few days, one more than the protocol requires, and they all came back negative. There was also another set of swabs taken this morning, to be on the safe side. They were all negative.

“However, the Naples ASL told us to keep those identified as ‘close contacts’ in the hotel anyway.”

This is the second time the ASL (local health authority) in Naples has caused controversy because it is ignoring or over-riding the existing sport protocol for COVID-19.

They hit the headlines in October when ordering Napoli to isolate the entire squad and not travel to Turin for the Serie A match against Juventus when two players tested positive.

This is not what is predicted by the protocol and Empoli will no doubt protest at this decision.

As long as a player passes two negative swabs before a game, including the day of the match, he should be allowed to participate, as per the protocol.

The ASL does have the right to over-rule the protocol, but so far the Naples ASL seems to be considerably more zealous than any other in the country, leading to a lack of consistency.