A threatened strike from Serie A players could prompt Italian football to be suspended as the coronavirus continues to cause confusion in Northern Italy.
The action is planned ahead this weekend despite uncertainty ahead of Parma-SPAL in the early kickoff, but the games scheduled for later on Sunday evening, and indeed next week, are now in doubt.
La Gazzetta dello Sport have reported that another emergency meeting has been called for Tuesday in order for a decision to be reached.
The Italian Players’ Association are unhappy that players’ health is being risked by having games played, and a number of media outlets, including CalcioMercato.it, published a press release on Sunday afternoon called for a strike on Sunday and Monday.
But in another twist, the Association denied that a strike was in place and stated that the release circulated by the press was only a draft, which had somehow made its way into journalists’ hands.
“In order to protect the fundamental right to health of its members, also in order to guarantee their safety and health, we proclaim a state of agitation and strike action for the days of [Sunday] 08/03/2020 and [Monday] 09/03/2020,” read the leaked release on Sunday afternoon.
The country’s sports minister, Vincenzo Spadafora, is also in favour of bringing things to a halt.
“I share the views of Damiano Tommasi [president of the Italian Players’ Association] and I unite with his call to suspend the football league,” Spadafora said on Sunday morning, which led to Parma-SPAL being delayed by 75 minutes.
Both sets of players were in the tunnel and ready to enter the pitch, having completed their warmups and with substitutes already in place on the benches.
But one minute before the scheduled 12:30 kickoff, they were ordered back to their respective dressing rooms.
“Other federations have wisely opted to stop for the next few days,” the minister continued.
“It makes no sense right now. As we’re asking for huge sacrifices of our citizens to prevent the spread of the virus, to put the health of players, referees, coaches and fans who will get together to watch the games.”