Serie A should be suspended, say Italian sports minister and head of Footballer's Assoction

Italy's sports minister has called for the suspension of the Italian league and criticised Serie A for rejecting his calls to make games free to air during the coronavirus emergency.

Serie A should be suspended, say Italian sport minister and head of Footballer's Assoction
Gabriele Maltinti Getty Images

Italian sports minister, Vicente Spadafora, has called for Serie A games to be suspended, following reports that several regions in northern Italy will be placed on lockdown.

Spadafora is the second high profile figure to call for suspension of the Italian league after president of the Italian Footballers' Association, Damiano Tommasi, took to twitter to demand the halt to football fixtures in the country, using the hashtag, “#healthcomesfirst”.

Speaking to the media, Minister Spadafora said: "It makes no sense at this time to put at risk the health of players, referees, coaches and fans who will surely meet up to watch the games instead of temporarily suspending football and defending their interests.”

Reports in Italy claim that Lombardy, which includes the cities of Milan and Bergamo, and 11 neighbouring provinces will be put on lock down as part of new government measures to curb the spread of coronavirus.

As it stands all Serie A fixtures will be played behind closed doors until April 3, with five fixtures scheduled for Sunday and one for Monday.

AC Milan v Genoa - San Siro, Milan, Italy - March 8, 2020 Staff check the temperature of a person before entering the stadium.

Spadafora criticizes Serie A over free-to-air rejection

On Sunday morning, Spadafora, along with several other footballing and political leaders, received a letter from Tommasi, in which he called for the immediate suspension of Serie A.

“Other Federations have wisely opted to stop over the next few days. I think it is the duty of the president of the Italian Federation, [Gabriele] Gravina, to reflect, and not wait for the first case of contagion,” said the sports minister.

Spadafora also harshly criticised Serie A and broadcaster Sky after they rejected his calls earlier this week to have all Serie A games made free to air during the public health emergency.

“After all of this, and even before the situation became so dramatic for the country, Serie A and Sky had already refused to grant thousands of Italians, forced against their will to stay at home, the possibility of watching the games, hiding behind alleged regulatory difficulties that could have been overcome largely with the goodwill of all involved.”