Italy, on Tuesday, rose to news of national lockdown, something of that sort happened last in World War II. Coronavirus has to spread all over in a rapid way. In Rome, the outbreak had already resulted in the closure of schools and that all sports events to be played behind closed doors.
However, as soon as the ‘red zone’ indicating the virus started hitting the whole country the daily life of the citizens there was affected for the first time. Now lines form outside supermarkets, where masked security guards ensure the limit on a maximum number of customers is adhered to. In a country with famously low queuing standards, the sight of neatly staggered lines forming down pavements is witnessed.
Apart from the daily lives of the localities, the world of sports has affected too. Matches have been grounded since Monday’s announcement that all sporting activity would be stopped until 3 April. This includes almost all sporting activities. The suspension was called perhaps a closed-doors Serie A match was taking place – a game in which Sassuolo striker Francesco Caputo celebrated his goal against Brescia by running to the TV camera with a handwritten sign that said: “Everything will be OK. Stay at home”.
On Tuesday evening, another Italian side had a game, as Atalanta beat Valencia 4-3 in Spain to progress to the Champions League quarter-finals. The game progressed ahead as the decision to put a halt on sport in Italy doesn’t affect international competitions, and that the responsibility for postponing European games lies in the hands of UEFA.
The following day Serie A club, AS Roma announced that their flight for a Europa League against Sevilla wasn’t authorized to land Spin and Getafe president Angel Torres cancelled any chance of his team travelling for their tie with Inter in Milan, which is currently the hub of Italy’s coronavirus epidemic.
That later on led UEFA to take decisive action by calling off the two games as a result of travel restrictions put in place by Spanish authorities, who have banned direct flights to and from Italy. As far as Serie A is concerned, the event will presumably be discontinued. The same was confirmed by the Italian FA (FIGC) this week.
With Euro 2020 due to commence in Rome on 12 June as things stand, substitutive plans of winding the domestic campaign are being given a thought. The first option considerably being to declare the current standings as final, which would hand a ninth consecutive Scudetto to Juventus, who are one point ahead of second-placed Lazio.
The second alternative being not to declare a champion for 2019/20. But most interestingly, and controversially, FIGC has opened the door to playoffs to decide who wins the title and who positions last. The top four sides – currently Juve, Lazio, Inter and Atalanta – would face off for the Scudetto, while the bottom four – Genoa, Lecce, SPAL and Brescia – would fight for survival.
On the other hand, Italian sides that are not involved in European leagues have mostly stopped training for the week. In their downtime, few players have resonated striker Francesco Caputo by using social media to spread home the key message of a national lockdown: stay at home.