Serie A season may not finish due to rules for quarantining coronavirus infected players

The fixture list is ready and the restart date is confirmed but the Italian football federation (FIGC) is still worried that the Serie A season might not finish due to rules for quarantining players infected with COVID-19.

In most countries where football has restarted, such as Germany, the general rule is that when a player tests positive for coronavirus, he has to be quarantined but his team mates can continue training and playing provided they test negative.

However, in Italy, where Serie A is due to resume on June 20, the government rule is that the entire squad must be quarantined for 14 days.

“It is creating anxiety for the whole football movement,” said FIGC president Gabriele Gravina, adding that he had asked sports minister Vincenzo Spadafora to reconsider the rule if the number of new cases in Italy continues to drop.

“There are clear rules which allow you to continue the activity, isolating (only) an athlete or a staff member,” he added, referring to the German Bundesliga.

The Serie A fixture list has teams playing two matches a week from June 20 to Aug. 2 to complete the season but this could be thrown into disarray if a team have to be quarantined for 14 days. If several teams were quarantined, finishing the season would become impossible.

Gravina has put forward a number of backup solutions, which include a playoff system or simply declaring the current positions to be final, but none have been well received.

Last week, he came up with the idea of using an algorithm, based on team’s home and away form, to calculate their final points tally — and this also attracted widespread criticism.

According to a calculation by La Republican, the final standings using the algorithm would see AC Milan drop from seventh to ninth, potentially missing out on a Europa League place. There would be no other major changes.

“A lot of noise has been raised without even knowing what it’s about,” Gravina told Il Mattino in an interview. “Maybe we shouldn’t use the word algorithm. Let’s just call it a rating criteria inspired by sporting merit.”

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