Juventus Vs Napoli Fixture Cancelled As Visitors Fail To Appear Amid COVID-19

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Serie A giants Juventus could be awarded three points in a bizarre situation after they took to the field at their home ground, Allianz Stadium for their match against Napoli on Sunday despite the absence of their opponents.


Napoli were disallowed from making the trip to Turin by local health officials after two players, Piotr Zielinski and Eljif Elmas were confirmed positive for Covid-19 along with a member of staff at the club.


The game was officially called off 45 minutes after the game started by the referee, to bring the curtain down on a Weird Serie A saga that will likely be highly contested by the visitors following the decision to forge ahead.

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Gennaro Gattuso’s side had expressed intentions to postpone the tie, much as Genoa were able to put their encounter with Torino on hold following a significant coronavirus outbreak of their own.


Despite the development, the Bianconeri announced on Saturday that they would take to the field regardless of the lack of opposition, indicating that the match could therefore be forfeited by the visitors, with the hosts handed a 3-0 walkover as a result.


Juve president Andrea Agnelli chimed in on the issue after the game was called off, saying: “Napoli president [Aurelio] De Laurentiis sent me a message and I replied that [we], as always, abide by the rules.


“He wanted to postpone the match, but we have regulations that tell us how to proceed. Every industry has its rules and we need to respect them. I don’t think the ASL [local health authority] of Naples can intervene if the FIGC protocol, which refers back to the government’s circular, is not observed at some point. If the protocol changes, we will once again abide by it”.


Juventus manager Andrea Pirlo made three changes to the side who drew 2-2 with Roma in their previous game, with Paulo Dybala, Arthur and Rodrigo Bentancur all listed into the starting line-up for the non-encounter.


However, Serie A supported Juventus’ stand ahead of the game on Sunday, stating that there were no laws preventing Napoli from fulfilling the fixture regardless of their positive tests.


“The Council of the Lega Calcio did also approve a set of rules that can lead to the postponement of a game only with several cases of players testing positive for the virus,” the league announced in a statement. “These conditions can’t be applied to the current Napoli case at the moment and there are no decisions of the local authorities that prevent the game from being played.”


Napoli have won both of their opening matches of the new season, compared to Juve who have taken only four points – but such an outcome could effectively see them leapfrog their rivals in their quest for further Serie A success once again.


The former have been one of Pirlo’s side’s closest rivals across the past decade, rarely finishing outside the top three and often providing stern opposition in domestic cup competition, having won last season’s Coppa Italia a penalty shootout against the Bianconeri.

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