Football: Serie A doctors warn against return to training as 10 players catch coronavirus

Juventus' Italian defender Daniele Rugani gives a press conference in April 2019.
Juventus' Italian defender Daniele Rugani gives a press conference in April 2019.PHOTO: AFP

ROME (AFP) - Serie A doctors on Saturday (March 14) unanimously warned against a return to club training after Fiorentina's Patrick Cutrone and German Pezzella and Sampdoria's Fabio Depaoli brought the number of Italian top flight players with coronavirus to 10.

"Serie A medics express their strong concern about protecting the health of club employees should training and other group assemblies be resumed soon," top-flight doctors said in a statement.

"Therefore, unanimously, the medics advise that we do not resume training until a clear improvement of the emergency situation."

Four Fiorentina team members have caught the virus with Serbia forward Dusan Vlahovic also testing positive on Friday, along with a club physiotherapist.

Juventus defender Daniele Rugani tested positive earlier in the week along with six Sampdoria players, the latest was Fabio Depaoli on Saturday.

"Hi friends ... Unfortunately I tested positive for Covid-19," the 22-year-old midfielder posted on Instagram. "I want to reassure you that I am fine! This invisible monster is hitting us indiscriminately."

Serie A as well as all sport in Italy has been suspended until April 3.

But the Italian Players' Association (AIC) on Saturday slammed a "paradoxal situation" whereby pressure was being put on players by some clubs to return to training.

"We are saddened and indignant to see even today some clubs are behaving rashly and against any national or international advice, continuing to call players for training in small groups or, even worse, for daily temperature controls," the AIC claimed.

"It is also offensive towards those on the front line, doctors, nurses and health personnel, who implore us to stay at home.

"(Clubs) must explain what is in the national interest to keep athletes fit when it is predicted they will not resume playing until at least mid-April.

"This means that they are living on another planet.

"Finally, if the call is aimed at docking pay from players who refuse, then we really are scraping the bottom of the barrel when it comes to dignity.

"Today in Italy there are still football clubs which are either shamefully irresponsible, or live on Mars, or lack a minimum of dignity."

On Saturday evening, Italian authorities said 3,497 cases had been recorded in the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 21,157.

The death toll now stands at 1,441, up from 1,266 on Friday.

Italy international Cutrone, 22, who joined Fiorentina on loan from Wolverhampton Wanderers last January, took to Instagram to reassure fans on his condition.

"Thanks to all of you for the support and your messages of affection." said the former AC Milan player said.

"I'm fine, and at this moment I stay at home following the protocol I received. I recommend you strictly observe the indications provided every day by the Institutions. #StrongerTogheter #StayatHome Thank you, Patrick."

Argentine Pezzella said earlier on Instagram: "The symptoms disappeared and I am at home following the procedures indicated by my club's medical staff.

"This will certainly soon be just another story. Look after your health and that of those around you. Hugs."

Meanwhile, according to reports in Italy the league could resume on May 2 behind closed doors and finish at the end on June, but that would depend on the postponement of the Euro 2020 championship.