Juventus-Napoli: What happens now?

by | Oct 3, 2020 19:24

Napoli are blocked from travelling to Turin, so it looks as if tomorrow night’s game with Juventus will be postponed, but what happens now and who decides?

The situation arose because Napoli registered two COVID-19 cases among their players – Piotr Zielinski and Eljif Elmas – plus a member of staff after their 6-0 win over Genoa last Sunday.

Genoa have since registered 22 cases in the matchday squad, including 17 players, most of which played against Napoli.

Napoli are blocked from travelling to Turin, so it looks as if tomorrow night’s game with Juventus will be postponed, but what happens now and who decides?

The situation arose because Napoli registered two COVID-19 cases among their players – Piotr Zielinski and Eljif Elmas – plus a member of staff after their 6-0 win over Genoa last Sunday.

Genoa have since registered 22 cases in the matchday squad, including 17 players, most of which played against Napoli.

Considering the close contact Napoli had with such a serious outbreak, the ASL local health authority has banned them from travelling outside the region to Turin.

That would have to be by plane and it is considered an unacceptable health risk, as COVID-19 has a long incubation period, so people can have it for several days without any symptoms or positive tests.

The Lega Serie A has adopted the UEFA protocol for dealing with COVID outbreaks, specifically that as long as a team has 13 players available including at least one goalkeeper, the match must go ahead.

In theory, that would see Napoli forfeit the game with a 3-0 defeat.

However, as it is not Napoli’s choice to miss the fixture and a decision made by the local health authorities who are not allowing them to travel, the club can argue it is beyond their control.

Indeed, in the rules published by the Lega Serie A, it states their protocol is adopted 'save for eventual action from local authorities.'

The fixture isn’t called off yet, as in theory Napoli could have more tests and fly out in the morning, ready to play the match at 19.45 UK time, 20.45 local time.

Last week, Genoa did the same, their kick-off postponed to 18.00 local time in order to allow time for the tests and flight.

There is also a precedent set today in Serie C, where Potenza-Palermo was postponed because the local health authorities banned travel.

The other concern is that Juventus-Napoli can’t realistically be postponed to Monday because of international duty.

It is becoming increasingly evident that the lack of a clear and confirmed Serie A protocol to deal with COVID-19 cases is going to create confusion and controversy.

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