Regional president in Italy makes bizarre claim Napoli should have been thanked for preventing Cristiano Ronaldo from getting Covid-19 after the Serie A side were stopped from facing Juventus after two players tested positive
The president of the Campania region in Italy has bizarrely claimed Napoli should have been shown gratitude for preventing Cristiano Ronaldo from contracting coronavirus.
The local health authority in Naples – ASL – stopped Gennaro Gattuso’s side from travelling to the Allianz Stadium in Turin to take on the Serie A champions last weekend after first-team members Elif Elmas and Piotr Zielinski tested positive for Covid-19.
Despite the ruling, Juventus were angered the fixture could not go ahead after arriving for the game and naming a starting XI, and claimed protocols were not followed.
Vincenzo De Luca says Napoli should be thanked for stopping Cristiano Ronaldo getting Covid
The president of the Campania region in Italy, Vincenzo De Luca, made the claim in a video
But president Vincenzo De Luca has defended his region’s most famous club and insists had the game gone ahead and Ronaldo got the virus it would have made headlines in America.
‘Nobody has thanked us for preventing Cristiano Ronaldo from getting the virus,’ De Luca explained in a Facebook video.
‘Try and imagine it. If Napoli had travelled with several positive cases in their squad like Genoa did. If Ronaldo had got the virus a week later, we would have hit the front pages even of the New York Times.
‘The protocol is no good when it comes to health and the laws. Napoli didn’t travel because the ASL decided that and Juventus ended up going to play with the ball boys.
Napoli were ordered by their local health authority – ASL – not to travel to Turin for the match
‘The players, from a health point of view, are subjected to the same rules as all Italian citizens. And, therefore, Napoli will not play because they have been quarantined by the ASL,’ he continued.
‘Juventus, through the words of president Andrea Agnelli, made a painful statement, embarrassing. “Since there’s a protocol, we will go to the stadium,” they declared.
‘The Juventus president is a man who is passionate, not only about football, but philosophy too. And that’s why I remind him of what [Arthur] Schopenauer (former German philosopher) said: “Honour has not to be won; it must only not be lost.”
‘If I had behaved in this way, I would have felt that I lost my sporting honour. We are talking about sport, sporting values, sporting loyalty, honest competition and respect for our opponents.
The ruling came after Elif Elmas (left) and Piotr Zielinski had tested positive for Covid-19
‘But how can we reduce ourselves to the pettiness of pretending to win a match when the antagonists are quarantined by the ASL and not by their own will?’
Juventus arrived one hour before the scheduled kick-off time at 8.45 Italian time (7.45pm UK time).
Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis however messaged Agnelli to ask for a postponement for the Serie A fixture following ASL’s ruling, but the Juventus president refused to accept this offer as his side had followed the protocols.
Agnelli said in a statement: ‘There are protocols that are very clear for situations like this, the situation was predictable, that there would be one or two COVID cases in the matchday squad.
Juventus president Andrea Agnelli (above) turned down Napoli’s offer of a postponement
The Juventus squad (above) turned up to the match as normal for the game on Sunday night
‘At that point, we go to the protocol passed by the CTS and the Lega Serie A, which is that we go into isolation at a structure agreed with the ASL.
‘That allows us all to go into the structure, to continue training and playing when tested regularly. There is clarity, the Federation worked well with the Ministry for Health and CTS to make sure we all know what needs to be done.
‘Juventus discovered there were two COVID cases yesterday, so naturally we all went into the bubble so we’d be ready to play this game.’
The result of the match is set to be decided in court, with a verdict expected to be announced next week.
Reports in Italy have claimed Napoli will most likely not lose 3-0 by default as previously claimed and the match could be postponed to a later date, but Juventus could be in line for a one-point deduction for violation of the current health protocol.
A court ruling is set to decide the outcome of the match with a verdict expected next week