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Calcio, Covid 19, Confusion and Contradictions.

Who should we believe?

When the official Juve twitter handle tweeted the Juve starting 11 for the Serie A week 3 clash against Napoli (against nobody actually), even after it had become common knowledge that the team from the south had not made the trip up north to Turin and the likes of Osimhen, Mertens etcetera were safely in their homes back in Naples, the Calcio world was launched into chaos and the confusion in the air was thick and heavy, like smoke puffing out of a steam engine belonging to a train from the 1800s. Everyone was glued to the news, following the saga with their fingers crossed.

Fan bases, the media and all stakeholders had quickly jumped on the issue with hot takes and divided opinions on who is right and who is wrong. Was Juve right to act as if nothing had happened and appeared at the stadium to play against a team they knew didn’t travel? Was Napoli right to ask their players to stay at home and not make the trip?

This was the latest in the many episodes of confusing sagas that has beclouded our beloved Calcio.

The Protocol

Against the backdrop of the Covid 19 pandemic, the Lega Serie A, in conjunction with all clubs, sports ministry and the Italian government had sat down to decide on how best to start and conclude the new 2020/2021 Serie A season in a way that ensures that there are no suspensions to the league once the inevitable situation of Serie A clubs registering Covid 19 cases sets in. As a result, a protocol was agreed on to help manage this situation:

  1. Test swabs were to be administered every 3 days to ascertain the Covid status of all players and staff in the clubs.

  2. Once positive cases are recorded, the rest of the team must go into fiduciary isolation (isolating the team from external contact while they continue to train and play games)

  3. Games must go ahead as long as a team has a minimum of 13 players i.e 12 outfield and 1 Goalkeeper testing negative. (Adapted from the UEFA protocol)

This protocol makes a lot of sense especially if you consider that in the top 5 European leagues, games have gone on despite many teams registering one or two Covid cases in their match-day squads.

An attempt to sabotage the league or a simple obedience to authority?