Amidst the constant nail-biting football game experience, something happened in the recent series that left everyone in a frenzy. Napoli failed to show up for their Serie A clash against Juventus in Turin on Saturday.
The match, which was supposed to happen at 20:45 local time, was cancelled around 45 minutes after the scheduled time when the visitors failed to show up at Juventus’ Allianz Stadium.
While the Juventus players kept waiting on the field, trying to carry on with the league, they were left in a complete shock when no one from the opposing team showed up.
The Neapolitans had to stay back in isolation after midfielders Eljif Elmas and Piotr Zielinski tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
Why Didn’t Napoli Show Up?
Even though the audience and the Juventus players were confused with the other team’s absence, the mystery was soon cleared up.
The Italian team was advised by their health authorities to stay in isolation for two weeks in the nearest hotel to the club to ensure better containment of the virus, especially after two of their midfielders tested positive for it.
While speculations surfaced that even Coach Gennaro Gattuso tested positive for the virus, the club quickly denied the rumors and said that another round of tests for the virus will be conducted on Monday.
What does the Serie A Protocol Suggest?
Serie A released a statement saying that the league had all the health protocols in place that were deemed safe for the match between Napoli and Juventus to be conducted.
They further clarified that there have been a few matches in the league that have been conducted despite a player in the team testing positive for the virus, like the match between Torino and Atalanta.
The league further clarified that they do have a special protocol for multiple players in the team testing positive for the virus. The matches will likely be postponed in such cases, which didn’t apply to Napoli’s case.
Serie A is abiding by the UEFA rules wherein a match can be conducted if the team has 13 healthy players and a goalkeeper. They said that they would likely consider the only exemption when the team has over ten positive cases within a week.
How did Juventus React?
With the sudden news, Juventus president Andrea Agnelli said in an interview that they received a call from the Napoli President asking to postpone the match. He reminded us that there were specific regulations in place.
Agnelli further clarified that their team was ready to step up their game and be present in the game despite two of their staff members testing positive for the virus.
Following the protocol, Juventus even arrived at the stadium an hour earlier along with the referees and a few supporters in the audience.
What is the Next Step?
Due to not showing up to their game, Napoli are currently at a 3-0 forfeit risk for not turning up for the Saturday game, though this looks unlikely.
Further reports are to come, mainly because of the meetings conducted with the Italian league officials on Tuesday.