We have a date in sight for the potential resumption of Serie A football after the Italian government announced plans to ease lockdown measures from the beginning of May.
Italy were the European country initially hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic, and were the first to impose mandatory self-isolation and lockdown measures, resulting in football being played behind closed doors and eventually paused indefinitely.
However, with the death toll having peaked out towards the end of March, things are easing in Italy. Their recorded 26 April death total of 260 was the lowest since 14 March, and although the lockdown remains in place for the time being - as it has since 10 March - measures are to be steadily lifted in the near future.
THREAD: #Italy PM Conte lays out how lockdown will be eased. From 4 May:— Mark Lowen (@marklowen) April 26, 2020
- People can move within region but not beyond
- Visiting family members allowed but not social gatherings. With masks
- Private sport allowed (eg running)
- Parks reopening
- Funerals - max 15 ppl... [1/4]
That was announced by Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, as reported by The Guardian, who said he expects some businesses to begin trading again from Monday 4 May.
“We are working in these hours to allow the reopening of a good part of businesses from manufacturing to construction for 4 May,” Conte said in Sunday's Italian newspapers.
Football Italia have interpreted what this will mean for football, and have outlined a timescale for the resumption of the country's top-flight.
The outlet say that players will be permitted to train individually from the target date of May 4, with full-team training (or at least training 'in groups') to get back underway a fortnight later on Monday 18 May.
#SerieA clubs will restart individual training sessions on May 4 and group training sessions on May 18. Then in the following weeks the Government will decide if Serie A is going to be finished or not. #Italy #Coronavirus— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) April 26, 2020
All going well, this could mean the return of football in Italy from Tuesday 2 June, with a view to getting the current Serie A season finished as soon as possible - if the government decide the season is to be finished.
The reported UEFA deadline of 31 July to finish the domestic campaign could be too tight under these circumstances - given clubs have either 12 or 13 fixtures remaining - but resuming from early June would leave time for a short close-season break ahead of 2020/21.
Games are expected to be contested behind closed doors as and when they resume, and Football Italia further note that strict, regular testing would be in place at games and training sessions to prevent a further outbreak.