ROME (AP) — In more farcical scenes in Serie A, bemused Lazio players walked onto the Stadio Olimpico pitch — with some even taking selfies — despite knowing that their Torino opponents were self-isolating hundreds of miles away in Turin on Tuesday.
A coronavirus outbreak forced Torino players and staff into self-isolation that doesn’t end until midnight Tuesday, hours after the scheduled kickoff against Lazio in Rome.
Nevertheless, Lazio followed its usual matchday routine and the club announced the starting lineup on social media. The players walked around the field and some snapped selfies as they waited until 45 minutes after kickoff, when the match could be officially called off.
Serie A’s governing body held an emergency meeting earlier in the day but voted not to postpone the match.
“You can’t defend the league and its integrity by ignoring objective reality,” Torino president Urbano Cairo said when asked if he expected that decision. “We can’t move from Turin, that’s glaringly obvious.
“I expect things to be done logically, if you add one plus one you shouldn’t have to do a thousand steps to get to two.”
The decision saw a repeat of the scenes around the Juventus-Napoli match last October when the Bianconeri followed their regular matchday routine and went out onto the field despite knowing their opponent had not left Naples.
Napoli was handed a 3-0 loss by the Italian league and docked one point but eventually had that overturned on appeal by the Italian Olympic Committee — after several failed attempts in other courts — and the match will be rescheduled.
Cairo said the club will also fight its case through the courts if it is handed a 3-0 loss by the league’s disciplinary commission.
“Now we’ll see what will happen. It’s obvious we’ll appeal. We will do all the appeals possible,” he said.
Torino’s match against Sassuolo last Friday was postponed until March 17. That decision was announced the day before the match, two days after the local health authority in Turin ordered the temporary closure of the club’s training ground and instructed all the players and coaching staff to self-isolate.
Eight Torino players and two staff members have tested positive for COVID-19. The more contagious variant that emerged in England has been identified in some cases.