Serie A restart still on hold over medical protocol

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Serie A - Fiorentina v Napoli - Stadio Artemio Franchi, Florence, Italy - August 24, 2019 General view inside the stadium before the match REUTERS/Daniele Mascolo/File Photo

ROME (Reuters) - Attempts to restart Italy's Serie A remained on hold on Thursday after the government said it was still examining the football federation's (FIGC) medical guidelines which are seen as the stumbling block to a resumption of the season.

Serie A teams have been allowed to start practice this week but only with players training individually and respecting social distancing. Full team practice is due to begin on May 18, but only if the medical protocol is approved.

On Thursday, there was a meeting between the government's technical-scientific committee and the FIGC but Minister of Sport Vincenzo Spadafora said it did not reach an agreement.

Instead, he added, the guidelines would be sent to the Ministry of Health for a further review.

"I know that it was a very thorough meeting, with many requests from doctors and now the technical-scientific committee will draft an assessment that will be sent to the Ministry of Health," he said.

"I hope that the problems have been solved and that, on the 18th, they (clubs) can resume team training, not only of football but also of all the other sports disciplines."

Italian media, including Gazzetta dello Sport, said the two main issues were how to do enough testing without taking away resources from the general population and how to deal with a player testing positive.

In the latter case, some experts want the whole team to be quarantined while others believe isolating the affected player, and then re-testing the rest of the squad, would be sufficient.

Earlier on Thursday, Fiorentina said three players and three back-up staff had given positive results in blanket testing of the squad ahead of training. On Wednesday, Torino said one player had tested positive.

In both cases, the affected individuals were isolated from the rest of the squad.

(Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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