Inter Milan director says Serie A risks not finishing due to coronavirus

Sunday's highly-anticipated clash between Inter and Juventus at San Siro on Sunday was one of five matches postponed by Serie A

Inter Milan players and staff and 18 other Serie A clubs have agreed to the 30 per cent wage cut proposal. Reuters
Inter Milan players and staff and 18 other Serie A clubs have agreed to the 30 per cent wage cut proposal. Reuters

Inter Milan's chief executive Giuseppe Marotta fears the Serie A season runs the risk of not finishing if more matches are postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Sunday's highly-anticipated clash between Inter and Juventus at San Siro on Sunday was one of five matches postponed by Serie A on Saturday. The games, all in regions where sporting events have been banned by the Italian government, had been due to be played behind closed doors.

Italy has confirmed more than 1,100 cases of coronavirus since the first known cases of the contagion were reported in the country's wealthy northern regions, where at least 29 people have died.

Sunday's postponed match against second-placed Juve is the second successive weekend Inter will have not played after their match at home to Sampdoria last weekend was one of four postponed by Serie A.

With an already crowded fixture, Moratta said the window to play the rearranged matches - the 2019/20 season is due to finish on May 24 - was growing smaller by the day.

"If more matches are called off then, yes, we run that risk," Marotta told Gazzetta dello Sport when asked if the championship might not finish.

He added that the "balance of the championship has been altered" because some matches had been postponed and others had not, resulting in a "distorted tournament".

"You just need to think of injuries and suspensions. And there is the psychological aspect when you look at the standings."

Third-placed Inter's two postponements have caused them to drop eight points behind leaders Lazio who have played and won two games during the same period. Lazio's matches - away to Genoa last Sunday and at home to Bologna on Saturday - were staged in regions unaffected by coronavirus.

"I am worried about Inter's game against Sassuolo next Sunday," added Marotta. "How do we deal with that? We can't play behind closed doors because it would be absurd to use a measure one week that we didn't use the week before ... I can't see a solution."

Serie A president Paolo Dal Pino defended the league's decision to postpone matches instead of play them behind closed doors.

Dal Pino told the ANSA new agency that "broadcasting matches in empty stadiums would have been a bad business card for the country."

Published: March 1, 2020 03:30 PM

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