Eight Serie A players and three members of club staff have already tested positive for the coronavirus in pre-training examinations, with many more tests set to come in the near future.
Italian football has been suspended indefinitely since March due to the pandemic, with the country one of the worst hit in the world.
Despite this, some Serie A clubs have resumed individual training in preparation for the season’s return and full team sessions are expected to start later this month.
However, Italian football continues to be affected by the global pandemic with no less than eight players testing positive for the virus this week, according to Associated Press journalist Andrew Dampf.
Dampf revealed that four players from Sampdoria, three from Fiorentina and one from Torino have tested positive for coronavirus, although it is unclear whether they have developed the illness COVID-19. Three members of the Viola’s staff have also reportedly tested positive.
The news has struck a blow to plans for football’s return in the country. Serie A had been pencilled in to resume in June but an increase in infections – especially among players and staff – would throw this into jeopardy.
Seven clubs – including Torino, Fiorentina and Sampdoria – want the season cancelled permanently, though the league’s governing body remain firmly committed to playing the remaining games.
Prior to the suspension, Serie A was gearing up for one of the tightest title races in recent memory. Juventus topped the table with Lazio trailing in second place by just a single point. Inter were also not out of the running entirely, just nine points adrift with a game in hand. Things were also tight at the bottom with as many as 11 teams still in realistic danger of relegation.
Though Italy is set to plough on and complete the campaign, several other leagues across Europe have already been cancelled. Belgium, the Netherlands and France have drawn their football seasons to a close.
The Bundesliga on the other hand will return with games poised to resume in just over a weeks time – albeit behind close doors.