Serie A president Paolo Dal Pino says Inter Milan refused to play the weekend’s postponed match against Juventus on Monday with doors open to the public.
Five Serie A matches due to take place this weekend, including Juventus vs Inter, were postponed on Saturday due to the coronavirus and have been rescheduled for May 13.
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The Milan club are said to be surprised by Dal Pino’s accusation that they refused to play the match and insist the health of their players, club officials and supporters is their priority.
Inter also felt a Monday fixture against Juventus would not allow enough time for their players to recover for Thursday’s Coppa Italia semi-final second leg against Napoli in Naples. Juventus face Milan in Turin in the other semi-final on Wednesday.
In an interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport, Inter CEO Beppe Marotta said the decision to reschedule the match had “distorted” the fixture list and insisted playing behind closed doors was no longer a viable option.
But Dal Pino says Inter were offered the opportunity to play the match in front of a crowd, something which he claims Inter declined.
“On Friday the CEO Luigi De Siervo and I proposed to Inter to move the match against Juventus on Monday evening to play it with open doors,” Dal Pino is reported to have said by Italian news agency ANSA.
“Inter categorically refused to take the field, assume its responsibilities and do not speak of unsporting situations or a distorted championship.”
Dal Pino added: “Marotta represents Inter’s needs, I protect the general interests of the whole Serie A, which unfortunately suffers from daily conflicts of interest related to each team.
“I have to promote Italian football and his image in the world, so transmitting games in empty stadiums would’ve been a terrible calling card for the country.
“The decision was down to me, but the clubs involved were contacted by telephone, so we know that they all had positions which were difficult to reconcile.
“We act with a sense of responsibility to protect the fans and the rights of all to attend the games, including the needs of the broadcasters to transmit images of full stands. I invite everyone to think of this as Serie A, not as individual clubs.”
A meeting to discuss the issues facing Serie A following the coronavirus outbreak has been scheduled for Wednesday, in which all 20 of the presidents from the clubs will be in attendance.
Italy is the country worst-affected by the coronavirus in Europe with more than 1,100 cases and 29 deaths. Eleven towns in the north of the country are currently in lockdown.
Juve suspend U23s training
Juventus have stopped training activities involving their under 23 team and put them under medical supervision after three players from Serie C side Pianese tested positive for the coronavirus.
None of the Juve U23s, who were the last opponents to face Pianese, have so far shown any symptoms of the virus.
“The Juventus under 23 team training activities are temporarily suspended,” a Juve statement read.
“The preventive measure was decided upon and is pending further official communications by the health authorities of Alessandria (Hygiene and Public Health Service – SISP) of which the Juventus health personnel are in constant contact with.
“A contagion of the COVID-19 which has emerged in the last few hours among the U.S. Pianese players which the Bianconeri played on the 23rd of February at the “Moccagatta” in Alessandria.
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