The Serie A game between Juventus and Napoli descended into chaos on Sunday as the visitors failed to turn up after their squad was placed in isolation following positive coronavirus tests. With two positive results this week, Napoli say they were ordered not to travel by their local health authority. However, Serie A refused to call the game off.
Juventus’ squad arrived at the stadium an hour before the 19:45 BST kick-off, but had no opponent to face. Under Serie A rules, Juventus would be handed a 3-0 win for Sunday’s match.
The league say the Naples Health Authority (ASL) has failed to take into account the health protocol agreed between the country’s health and sports ministry and the football authorities.
This states that, if players test positive, the rest of the squad can still train and play again providing they are tested again and return negative results. The statement added that several matches had been played this season after teams had one or more players test positive.
“The protocol lays down certain rules that cannot be deviated from, which allow league matches to be played even in the event of a positive result, deploying players who have tested negative,” it said.
Juventus president Andrea Agnelli said: “The sporting rules are… clear and say that if a team does not show up, they face disciplinary sanctions. The Sporting Judge will speak tomorrow, and based on his decision, there will be further reflections.
“It is evident that the fact that a team does not reach a stadium to play a planned match does not give a great image of Italian football.”
Last Sunday, Napoli hosted Genoa, where 17 players have tested positive for Covid-19 in the last week. Genoa’s match at home to Torino on Saturday was postponed.
Serie A has ruled that matches should go ahead provided each team has a minimum of 13 players available and that teams who cannot play would suffer a forfeit.
However, teams have the right to ask for a postponement without forfeiting if 10 players are infected within one week.
Juventus’ own squad are currently in a “bubble” after two non-playing staff members recently tested positive for Covid-19.
On Saturday, with reports emerging that Napoli would not travel, Juventus tweeted that their team would take to the field the next day “as foreseen by the Serie A league calendar”.
They followed this up on Sunday with further tweets, one declaring “Matchday!” and another showing their squad list for the encounter.