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Two Parma players test positive for Covid-19 in blow for Serie A's hopes for a return

Clubs are in disagreement with the government over protocols ahead of a slated return on 13 June.

A view of Parma's Stadio Ennio Tardini.
A view of Parma's Stadio Ennio Tardini.
Image: SIPA USA/PA Images

TWO PLAYERS FROM from Serie A side Parma have tested positive for coronavirus and have been moved into isolation, the club announced Saturday in another setback to hopes of a season restart in football-mad Italy.

Just two days out from the scheduled go-ahead for group training at clubs, Parma said all members of their squad and staff had been tested through swabs and blood samples.

All came back negative except for two players, who are asymptomatic.

“Both of them were positive on the first test and negative on the second that was performed 24 hours later,” said Parma in a statement.

“The players, both in excellent condition and asymptomatic, have nonetheless been immediately isolated and the club will monitor them constantly.”

Clubs have suggested 13 June as a date for the championship to restart while group training will get underway on Monday.

However, there is a point of dispute with government insistence on quarantine for the entire team and staff, in the event of a positive test.

Italian clubs favour the German model, where only the infected person is quarantined. 

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Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said yesterday he needs “more guarantees” before the green light can finally be given for the resumption of Serie A. 

“Before starting the season, we need a few more guarantees and, speaking to Minister for Sport Vincenzo Spadafora, we don’t have those at this moment,” Conte told a televised news conference.

“I hope they can be achieved as soon as possible.”

Many clubs consider that the health protocol, painstakingly drawn up by the Italian Football Federation (FIGC), following recommendations of the government’s Technical and Scientific Committee, is impossible to enforce.

There is one other point of disagreement, concerning the logistical difficulties for clubs to try and organise a two-week group training period from Monday.

Players would theoretically have to train together, then eat and sleep at the training centre or a hotel entirely available to the team to avoid any risk of contagion.

Many clubs do not have these facilities.

- © AFP 2020

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