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Italy’s sports minister ‘doubtful’ of early May return for Serie A

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Italy’s Sport Minister Vincenzo Spadafora asked the national soccer association to consider stopping top division Serie A matches after the country ordered a virtual lockdown across a swathe of its wealthy north to tackle the coronavirus outbreak.

Italy’s sports minister Vincenzo Spadafora said Thursday he was “very, very doubtful” that Serie A action would return as hoped in early May.

Both Spadafora and Italian football federation chief Gabriele Gravina had last week expressed their hope that the championship could resume on the weekend of May 2.

“The forecasts that made us think we could resume sports competitions in late April or early May I think are a bit too optimistic,” Spadafora told Italian television station Rai 3.

“I am very, very doubtful. I can certainly say that if there are conditions to resume competitions in certain circumstances, it will certainly take place behind closed doors.

“To date, it is unthinkable to say that in May it is possible to resume all competitions regularly, especially with spectators.

“Even scientists have no certainty about the evolution of the epidemic. We have to adapt our decisions to changing situations.”

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All sport in Italy has been suspended until April 3 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic which has killed 8,000 people in the country.

“The final decision will be up to the FIGC (the Italian football federation),” the sports minister added.

“They could decide to postpone games until the late summer, but the situation is complicated, football has taken a little longer than others to understand the crisis.”

He added: “We want to be ready to start as soon as it will be possible. Sport will be one of the engines that will allow us to revive this country after the health crisis.”

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