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Italian clubs barred from training until at least April 13

Italy’s lockdown has been extended, and that means athletes based in Italy won’t be able to head to team headquarters.

Juventus Training Session Photo by Daniele Badolato - Juventus FC/Juventus FC via Getty Images

The beginning of April was, in theory, supposed to be the time when a sense of normalcy might have started to happen around the Italian sporting world. This coming Friday, officially April 3 on the calendar, was the original date when Serie A was originally set to restart after everything cooled down on the coronavirus front in Italy.

That was the hope — and a generous one at that.

In actuality, the waiting game continues.

A decree issued by the Italian government Wednesday night extended the country’s coronavirus lockdown another two weeks until April 13. As a result of the new measures handed down by Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, it means that football clubs in the country won’t be able to open up their training facilities for players to beginning the process of getting back into game shape if the 2019-20 season is to get back underway.

“The only novelty is regarding training sessions for athletes,” Conte said during the announcement of the new measures. “We have banned them to ensure that clubs cannot demand a sporting performance, even if it is just a training session.”

Having things restart at the beginning of April was always going to be the most hopeful of scenarios. That would have meant the coronavirus pandemic, one that has killed over 13,000 Italians and has cases worldwide closing in on 1 million total as of Wednesday, would have calmed down to the point where it would be safe to have players and coaching staff members come out of isolation and be around one another again. That point in Italy — and the world, basically — has yet to happen yet, and there’s no real indication of when that may be.

Pushing the lockdown and training ban back another two weeks isn’t a surprise at all if you’ve been paying any kind of attention to what has happened in Italy over the past month. And it’s especially true if recall what the president of the Italian Footballers’ Federation, Damiano Tomasi, said last week about restarting games in early April:

“It’s clearly impossible to start playing at the beginning of April. If all goes well, we can resume in May or June. When we talk about football, people think we are only ensuring the safety of players, but there’s a whole world behind the team. The first to be contaminated were in Serie C with Pianese, and their kit man is still in intensive care. Juventus have 100 people under quarantine.

“These are people who travel all around Italy and Europe, meeting many, many people during the course of their work. The problem is not just Italian, but European, so UEFA have to behave like the European Union.”

(Source: Football Italia)

The time when Serie A games — and training, for that matter — resume and get us back to some kind of normalcy in the sporting world is anybody’s guess at this point. For all we know is that games won’t even resume this season as coronavirus continues to keep all Italians inside in attempt to flatten a curve that has been arguably the worst in the world.

For now, though, we know that it will be another two weeks until there’s even a glimmer of hope in the sporting world that the doors at Juventus Training Center might open up again.