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Serie A: ‘Inter refused to play on Monday’

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Lega Serie A chief Paolo Dal Pino insists Inter “categorically refused” to play Juventus with open doors on Monday.

“They should take responsibility and not talk of a distorted league.”

The row over the decision to postpone five Serie A games – including Juventus-Inter – to May 13 has caused huge controversy, as on Thursday it had been announced they would be played behind closed doors due to the Coronavirus outbreak.

Inter director Beppe Marotta claimed the Lega Serie A moved to simply reschedule them without informing the clubs, creating a “distorted” fixture list and therefore changing the entire season.

Now Dal Pino has given his version of events to La Gazzetta dello Sport and it is very different to Marotta’s.

“On Friday, the general manager De Siervo and I proposed to Inter the idea of moving the game with Juventus to Monday evening so that it could be played with a crowd present.

“Inter categorically refused to take the field. So they should take responsibility for their decisions and not talk of unsporting situations or a distorted league.

“Marotta represents the needs of Inter, I have to look after the general interests of an entire Serie A division, which unfortunately means daily conflicts of interests tied to each and every club.

“My job is to promote Italian football and its image to the world, so transmitting games in empty stadiums would’ve been a terrible calling card for the country.

“The decision was down to me, but the clubs involved were contacted by telephone, so we know that they all had positions which were difficult to reconcile.

“We act with a sense of responsibility to protect the fans and the rights of all to attend the games, including the needs of the broadcasters to transmit images of full stands. I invite everyone to think of this as Serie A, not as individual clubs.

“I want to point out that in the Premier League, for example, there are regularly teams with games in hand for weeks on end due to the numerous cup competitions. So let’s not create a drama where there isn’t one.”

The lockdown order on three of the six regions affected by the Coronavirus outbreak – Piedmont, Liguria and Friuli – is due to expire at midnight tonight.

It has been renewed for another week in the areas where there are hundreds more cases than elsewhere – Lombardy (615), Veneto (191) and Emilia-Romagna (217).

From Wednesday, schools are due to reopen in Piedmont, so there could’ve been special dispensation to play with supporters in Turin, but not those travelling from Lombardy – eg Milan.