Juventus vs Napoli, Serie A 2020–21: Match Called-Off As Visitors Fail to Show-Up Due to Quarantine; Hosts Set to Be Awarded 3–0 Win

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Juventus’ Serie A 2020-21 match against Napoli was abandoned after visitors failed to turn-up for the game. The Napoli squad have been placed in isolation following two COVID-19 positive reports and were barred from travelling to Turin for their Serie A clash against Juventus. Local authorities feared that could be a possibility of an outbreak of the virus and asked the team to be in quarantine. But the league have refused to postpone the game and now Juventus could be awarded all 3 points as a walkover. The match was officially cancelled 45 minutes after kick-off time and Juventus are set to be awarded a 3-0 victory.

Napoli had asked for the match to be postponed after two of their players, including Polish midfielder Piotr Zielinski, had returned positive results for COVID-19. But their request was rejected with Serie A maintaining that a no-show will be seen a ‘forfeit’ and the game will be awarded to the opponent.

Serie A stated that the Naples Health Authority (ASL) failed to take into account the health protocols agreed between the country’s health ministry and the league authorities. The protocols state even if players of a particular team tests positive, the rest of the squad can still train and play provided they are tested again and all return with negative results. A match will only be postponed if more 10 players of one team test positive in a single week.

“The protocol lays down certain rules that cannot be deviated from, which allow league matches to be played even in the event of a positive result, deploying players who have tested negative,” the Serie A said in a statement.

Juventus president Andrea Agnelli said after the game was called-off that Napoli SC president Aurelio De Laurentiis “sent me a message, asking for the game to be postponed and I replied that, as always, Juventus will follow the rules,” Agnelli said. “If we don’t, we are failing as citizens rather than sportsmen.”

Napoli has hosted Genoa last Sunday and reports emerged days after the clash that 17 members, the number has climbed to 19 now, of the Genoa squad had tested positive before two players from the Napoli team also returned with positive results. Genoa’s home match against Torino this week was postponed.

Reports suggested that the entire Napoli squad was put in strict quarantine and that players could face “criminal charges” in they broke it. But the Serie A announced the match was to go ahead as planned. It quoted the regulations set by UEFA, which state that teams are allowed to play provided they have a fit squad of 13, including a goalkeeper. Teams who cannot play would suffer a forfeit.

Teams are, however, allowed to appeal the decision and ask for a postponement. Napoli stated that the team was ready to board the plane to Turin for the Juventus match before being asked to quarantine.

Two staff members from the Juventus team also tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday. And despite being aware that Napoli would not travel for the match, Juventus tweeted that their team would take the field and also announced the match-day squad. The Juventus players trained before the fans before the referee called the game off.

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