Coronavirus: Serie A return in early May 'very, very doubtful', says sports minister

Vincenzo Spadafora and Italian football chief Gabriele Gravina had expressed their hope that Italy's top flight could resume on the weekend of May 2

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Serie A football returning from the coronavirus-enforced shutdown by early May is "very, very doubtful", Italy's sports minister Vincenzo Spadafora has said.

Both Spadafora and Italian football federation chief Gabriele Gravina had last week expressed their hope that Italy's top flight could resume on the weekend of May 2.

"The forecasts that made us think we could resume sports competitions in late April or early May I think are a bit too optimistic," Spadafora told Italian television station Rai 3.

"I am very, very doubtful. I can certainly say that if there are conditions to resume competitions in certain circumstances, it will certainly take place behind closed doors.

"To date, it is unthinkable to say that in May it is possible to resume all competitions regularly, especially with spectators.

"Even scientists have no certainty about the evolution of the epidemic. We have to adapt our decisions to changing situations."

All sport in Italy has been suspended until April 3 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic which has killed 8,000 people in the country.

"The final decision will be up to the FIGC (the Italian football federation)," the sports minister said. "They could decide to postpone games until the late summer, but the situation is complicated, football has taken a little longer than others to understand the crisis.

"We want to be ready to start as soon as it will be possible. Sport will be one of the engines that will allow us to revive this country after the health crisis."