Italy’s Serie A, one of the first pro sports leagues to shutter midseason as the coronavirus pandemic ravaged the country in March, said Thursday that its games will restart June 20.
The soccer league with such global marquee teams as Juventus and Inter Milan was shut down March 10 midway through its 2019-2020 season, playing some games in empty stadiums before finally halting play altogether. Italy was the first global hotspot outside China for COVID-19, but has slowly been reopening as cases have diminished.
As of today the country has recorded 33,072 deaths from the virus, behind only the U.S. and the UK.
The league had been eyeing a June 13 restart, but the Italian government’s national lockdown rules had been extended to June 14.
The news today came after a call with Italian sports minister Vincenzo Spadafora, the league and national soccer federation presidents, players’ reps and the Association of Italian Sports Medics. The plan calls to resume the final four games in the current match week, followed by teams playing games every three days. The schedule is still to be worked out.
One rule requires an entire club’s team and staff to quarantine for two weeks should anyone test positive for coronavirus, which could impact being able to finish out the full season.
The news comes as the English Premier League announced earlier today it will come back to June 17. Germany’s Bundesliga is already playing games in empty stadiums. Spain’s La Liga is eyeing a June 11 return.
In the U.S., the men’s pro league MLS has not set a timetable for return. The women’s NWSL on Wednesday unveiled a 25-game tournament in Utah for all nine of its teams beginning next month in lieu of a regular season.
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