Juventus arrives for Serie A clash against Napoli … but has no opponent


After two players recently tested positive for coronavirus, local health authorities in Naples ordered the entire first-team squad to stay at home and isolate, a club spokesperson told Reuters.

However, with Serie A officials refusing to call the match off, Napoli now faces an automatic 3-0 defeat as forfeit. The club said it would challenge that decision.

In a statement released earlier Sunday, Serie A said health authorities in Naples had ignored the protocol agreed between the country’s health and sports ministry and the Italian Football Federation, which states that teams can still train and play matches even if players return positive tests, as long as the rest of the squad return negative results when tested again.

Following this protocol, Serie A said several matches this season had gone ahead despite multiple players on a team testing positive.

“What has been done by the Federation and Uefa is an excellent job and leaves me calm about being able to complete the competitions,” Juventus President Andrea Agnelli said at a news conference. “The sporting rules are equally clear and say that if a team does not show up, they face disciplinary sanctions.

“The sporting judge will speak tomorrow, and based on his decision, there will be further reflections.

“Did I speak to (Napoli President) De Laurentis? He texted me a couple of days ago, asking me to postpone the match. My answer was that Juventus abides by the regulations.”

Last weekend, Napoli faced Genoa, which subsequently had 15 first-team and staff members test positive for coronavirus. Genoa had its match at home to Torino on Saturday postponed.

Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon talks with staff members ahead of the scheduled match.

Serie A rules say that matches can still go ahead if clubs have 13 healthy players, including one goalkeeper, with teams only able to request a postponement if 10 or more players test positive within a week.

Agnelli confirmed that Juventus has entered into its own “bubble” prior the clash against Napoli and said that it was “respecting the protocol,” after learning that two people at the club had tested positive.

The club showed its intentions of playing the game by posting a series of tweets showing players arriving at the stadium and naming its starting lineup.



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