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Serie A stars can return to training on May 4

Italian league players can train alone for two weeks and resume team work a fortnight later

Serie A sides will be allowed to return to individual training on 4 May and team training on 18 May after Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte revealed the first stages in lifting the country's coronavirus lockdown.

Conte, announcing measures during a televised address, said players would still have to respect social distancing rules from May 4 before team training could begin two weeks later.

Italy was the first European country to be hit hard by the coronavirus and Serie A has been suspended since March 9. The suspension followed a chaotic fortnight in which the country attempted to carry on with matches behind closed doors.

Conte said sports minister Vincenzo Spadafora would work "intensively" with scientists and sports leaders to ensure training was safe, although no date was set for the resumption of matches.

"Then we will try to see if they can continue with the championships that are suspended. We will only reach this conclusion if it can be guaranteed that it is safe. We don't want our athletes to get sick.

"I'm passionate for football," he added. "Like many Italians, I initially found it strange that the championship could be interrupted or suspended but I think that even the most ardent fan understands that there wasn't an alternative."

The Italian Football Federation has already drawn up a medical protocol for training.

For the start of training, each club will form a group of players, technical staff, doctors and physiotherapists who will be tested and then isolated in a summer-style training camp.

There are also plans to donate five test-kits for each one used by clubs to avoid the criticism that football is taking away resources from other areas of society,

There are 12 rounds of matches still to play in Serie A plus a number of outstanding games from previous rounds. Title holders Juventus are one point clear of Lazio at the top.

Updated: April 27, 2020 07:34 AM

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