Soccer-Sports judge cancels Inter's default win over Bologna and orders match to be played

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Serie A - Bologna v Inter Milan - Stadio Renato Dall'Ara, Bologna, Italy - January 6, 2022 A steward is seen in the stand in a protective face mask after Bologna declared that they would not play the match because players and staff have tested positive for Covid-19 REUTERS/Jennifer Lorenzini

(Reuters) - Inter Milan's Serie A match against Bologna, who were unable to field players for the fixture earlier this month due to COVID-19 cases and were handed a 3-0 defeat by default, must be played at a later date, a sports judge who deals with legal cases Italy's top flight ruled on Friday.

Four games in Serie A were farcically abandoned on Jan. 6 when only one team showed up for each of them, due to conflicting instructions from sport and health authorities.

Inter's trip to Bologna was one of those matches, with a COVID-19 outbreak in the home side's squad leading to the local health authority placing the club into quarantine, meaning they could not face champions Inter.

The league stuck to the original protocol by refusing to officially postpone games where teams had at least 13 players, including a goalkeeper, available. The rules also stated if one side showed up to play, they would be awarded a 3-0 win.

However, sporting judge Gerardo Mastrandrea has decided not to penalise Bologna for failing to play the match, and so the game will be played at a later date this season and Inter will not be awarded the 3-0 default win.

The overall protocol has also changed this week, after sport, health and government bodies agreed that fixtures must be fulfilled unless 35% or more of the players in a squad have tested positive to the virus.

The judge also said a decision on the other games that were postponed on Jan. 6 will take place in the coming weeks.

(Reporting by Peter Hall, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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