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Mattia Perin is one of the 16 people at Genoa to have contracted coronavirus

Football

‘Insane spreading capacity:’ Genoa’s Serie A game postponed after 16 cases

MILAN, Italy, Oct 1Italy’s football league has again been hit by coronavirus with Genoa’s Saturday Serie A game postponed after 16 positive cases were detected at the club.

The third-round match against Torino is the first in Serie A to be suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic since the championship started on September 19.

“This postponement is logical. If it hadn’t been decided who would have gone onto the pitch, myself and (sporting director Daniele) Faggiano?” said Genoa president Enrico Preziosi.

“This virus has an insane spreading capacity. Unfortunately, it cannot be controlled.”

In Italy, the first European country affected by the coronavirus, Serie A was first suspended in early March, returning mid-June to conclude the season.

After Genoa’s most recent tests, 12 players and four staff members are positive for COVID-19, two more than announced on Monday.

Goalkeeper Mattia Perin and midfielder Lasse Schoene both missed Genoa’s 6-0 Serie A loss at Napoli on Sunday, and 14 others have returned positive tests since the game, including Italian international striker Mattia Destro on Thursday.

Genoa had requested that the Torino match be pushed back with health authorities cancelling the team’s training sessions.

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And the Lega Serie A confirmed on Thursday they would apply UEFA rules whereby a match can only take place as long as a side have 13 healthy players, including a goalkeeper.

There are also concerns about Napoli players, after eight players who took the field for Genoa later tested positive.

Napoli are due to play champions Juventus in Turin on Sunday.

A first round of swabs at Napoli came back negative, with a second round of testing set for Thursday.

If 10 players test positive within a week, a club can request the postponement of a match.

The request can only be granted once in the a season.

– Rules needed –

Torino president Urbano Cairo hit out at Italian football chiefs’ slowness in deciding what action to take.

“The important thing is that a rule had to be established, like UEFA did some time ago by establishing when to play and when not to play,” Cairo told Sky Sports Italia.

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“La Liga, for example, adopted that rule and did it long ago. We are very late and this is a shame.

“I think it should have been done earlier because it was easy to predict that situations of this type could occur in autumn.

“Now there is a need for certain rules for everyone and for every day.

“Torino also had a positive before the match against Atalanta and we started training on Thursday.”

Italian football federation (FIGC) president Gabriele Gravina insisted: “Although determined to play sports competitions, our actions are always inspired by the protection of the health of members.

‘Covid had the courage to challenge me. Bad idea,’ said AC Milan forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic. © AFP/File / MIGUEL MEDINA

“There has been a fruitful collaboration with the authorities, to underline the great effort of all the protagonists of our world in limiting the spread of the virus.”

Other teams have had individual cases with AC Milan star Zlatan Ibrahimovic in quarantine after testing positive last week, leading to a debate over whether the championship should be suspended.

Sports Minister Vincenzo Spadafora said during the week “the conditions to stop the season have not been met”.

The new season got underway with a maximum 1,000 spectators allowed into stadiums.

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