Italy was one of the first countries in Europe to be hit by the deadly disease and its top flight has been suspended since March 9. There have been nearly 220,000 infections in the country and more than 30,000 fatalities.
Teams have now returned to the training pitch in the hope of completing the domestic season, with figures at Serie A in talks with the Italian government over a possible timeline for a restart.
But some Torino supporters have made it clear they are not at all enthused by the possibility of football coming back. In a message displayed outside their Stadio Olimpico Grande stadium, they said football officials were ‘the real virus’ and pointed out the mounting death toll.
‘Thousands of deaths in every city, but you think about the resumption of Serie A’, read one banner, while another said: ‘The real virus to be eradicated is you who want to go back to playing’.
Torino, like many Serie A sides, have now returned to individual training ahead of a possible restart, with players spread out across the pitch and undergoing basic drills following weeks of lockdown.
If the season is resumed, the team will be fighting for survival as they sit in 15th place – just two points off the bottom three in Serie A. Before the suspension they had been on a torrid run of seven straight defeats and sacked Walter Mazzarri in February.
As discussions continue over football’s return, clubs were told by the government on Monday that they may start team training on May 18 after conducting individual sessions so far with social distancing measures in place.
In a joint statement from Health Minister Roberto Speranza and Sports Minister Vincenzo Spadafora, it said the committee had ordered some changes, which were not specified, but had given the green light for group training to restart.
‘The committee’s indications, which are to be considered stringent and binding, will be sent to the FIGC for the necessary adjustments to the protocol so as to allow the safe resumption of team training from 18 May,’ it said.
There are still 12 matchdays left to play in Serie A, in addition to a handful of games that were delayed due to the virus. Title holders Juventus are one point clear of Lazio at the top.