Euro 2020 Special

Serie A Leads the Footballing World in Educating on World Pandemic

This time just over a year ago Ashley Young and Romelu Lukaku were playing key roles in a Champions League classic – for Manchester United.

Fast forward 12 months and both are still team-mates but now ply their trade in Serie A in Italy, are currently both in lockdown and, in the case of the former, giving invaluable advice to the community during an outbreak which has put the world, let alone sport, on hold.

The question of when we’ll next get to witness some Serie A highlights is actually not even on the immediate agenda, such is the Covid-19 pandemic affecting all corners of the globe.

What’s more,uncertainty breeds conjecture, it invites speculation, and it produces panic and very often conspiracy. Little of that is helping anyone.

But back to the football, for that is what we all know and love.

Within the last 48 hours, Italy’s Minister of Sport Vincenzo Spadafora has said sport “must and want to be ready to start as soon as possible”. With sport currently suspended, the respective Federations and Associations are widely discussing how to proceed after the current emergency and Spadafora has highlighted that sport will be “one of the engines” to help “relaunch” Italy.

Yet that does seem some way off. Serie A doctors have already issued a joint warning advising against a return to club training.

This, remember, is a country which has reported 8,215 deaths from coronavirus and 80,539 confirmed cases at the time of writing.

Today, a four-day trend of a slight decline in the number of cases ended when both infections and deaths rose compared to the previous 24-hour period.

Italy is the worst-affected nation in Europe where almost everything has been closed for over two weeks and people told to stay at home.

According to financial forecasts, considering a scenario where no further matches would be plated this term, Serie A could register a maximum revenue loss of about 650 million euros. In this sense, the highest loss would relate to broadcasting revenues, which could record a decrease of 450 million euros.

Reports suggest the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) is exploring alternatives if the Serie A season cannot run its course.

The three suggestions the FIGC has put forward are: to end the season early and crown the leader at that point as champions; halt the 2019-20 campaign without any team winning the title; or have play-offs for the Scudetto and relegation spots.

However, in truth, that seems of little importance right now and Italian football is largely leading the way in urging care.

Lukaku, who’s been in self-isolation for nearly a fortnight in Milan, has been updating fans about how it feels, what he’s been up to and how he’s keeping fit, in his own YouTube series.

Serie A: Ashley Young has been sharing tips on staying safe during the outbreak
Inter Milan’s Ashley Young in action against Juventus’ Aaron Ramsey

Former United captain Young has gone further – sharing his tips for staying safe during the coronavirus outbreak.

The 34year-old only moved to Milan, in the heart of Europe’s worst-affected region, two months ago but his advice is certainly making people sit up and take notice.

Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo has reportedly donated a large sum to three intensive care units for coronavirus patients at hospitals in his native Portugal.

Ronaldo’s team-mates Daniele Rugani, Blaise Matuidi and Paulo Dybala are among the footballers who have all tested positive for the virus.

Players and clubs are certainly doing their bit to educate.

In another example, Roma have funded three intensive care ventilators and eight beds for a hospital in the capital as the crisis deepens.

The team’s first-team players and coaching staff have also each donated a day’s salary to take the club’s fundraising campaign to 460,000 euros (£424,000).

Furthermore, they have arranged for the delivery of 13,000 masks to hospitals in the city, along with bottles of hand sanitiser.

Then, earlier today, the club teamed up with charity Roma Cares to deliver 8,000 pairs of protective gloves and 2,000 bottles of sanitising hand gel to churches in key parts of the Italian capital – to be redistributed among the vulnerable in their communities.

Italian football is leading by example and can be somewhat proud of the steps it took in, first suspending games, and ultimately the league altogether.

At this moment in time, the impact on football may be clear but the impact on society makes football seem quite unimportant.




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