Serie A clubs, players question govt. quarantine policy

FILE PHOTO: Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI) President Giovanni Malago smiles after the announcement of Milano and Cortina as the host cities for the 2026 Winter Olympic Games during the 134th session of IOC in Lausanne, Switzerland, June 24, 2019. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

MILAN (Reuters) - The attempt to resume Serie A ran into trouble on Thursday as the footballers' association (AIC) criticised the government's quarantine policy for players and the league said it was trying to find a practical way of implementing the rules.

Serie A clubs voted on Wednesday to set June 13 as the resumption date for the league, which has been suspended since March 9 due to the coronavirus pandemic, although the final decision rests with the government.

The main sticking point is the Health Ministry's insistence that, if a player tests positive, his club's entire squad must go into a 14-day quarantine.

This would mean matches being postponed and could play havoc with the fixture list if players at a number of teams tested positive.

The Italian football federation (FIGC) says that isolating the affected player would be sufficient providing the rest of the squad remain negative.

The teams, including coaching and support staff, must also go into isolated training camps for two weeks before play can resume but there is confusion over how this would work.

Inter Milan chief executive Giuseppe Marotta told La Repubblica that the government's protocol was impractical.

"With these rules we simply wouldn't be able to go into the training retreat," he said. "That is why we ask for them to be changed, or we will have no alternative."

The AIC said the government policy does not seem suitable to guarantee the conclusion of the championship.

"There is a real risk of having to stop again almost as soon as we have returned to the pitch, thereby frustrating all the efforts made," it said.

Serie A said in a statement it had held a meeting between the clubs and doctors on Thursday "with the aim of finding suitable and practical solutions in the application of the instructions received (from the government), with particular reference to group quarantine".

It said it hoped to have discussions with the government "to arrive at a protocol we can share".

Earlier, the head of Italy's Olympic committee (CONI), Giovanni Malago, told state broadcaster Rai that he believed there was a "99% percent chance" Serie A could start on June 13.

Serie A still has 12 rounds of matches to play plus several outstanding games postponed from earlier rounds. Juventus lead the standings by one point from Lazio while Lecce, SPAL and Brescia occupy the relegation places.

(Reporting by Brian Homewood,; Editing by Keith Weir and Ed Osmond)

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