On May 4, 2020, the ‘Comitato Consumatori Lazio‘ (Lazio Consumers Committee) created an online petition named “COVID-19 | FOOTBALL AND THE EMPLOYMENT IT INCURS: NO TO THE STOP PUT FORTH BY THE DECREE!”, which was announced through an official statement on Lazio Story.
Led by Lawyer Gian Luca Mignogna – who is also fighting for Società Sportiva Lazio’s claim of the 1915 Scudetto – this initiative was started with regard to the social, economic, sporting and employment concerns involved with football, and in order to avoid any legal disputes between Italian football clubs and the country itself; the petition involves anyone that is connected to the football system in any capacity.
For this reason, the Lazio Consumers Committee stated that the Presidency of the Council of Ministers (the administrative structure which supports the Prime Minister of Italy) and the Minister of Sport (Vincenzo Spadafora) should refrain from ordering a stop of the 2019/20 Serie A season by decree and let the football system identify and agree on the best solutions for establishing the times, conditions and methods for resuming the Serie A.
Securing 500 signatures thus far, on May 5, 2020, Mignogna, was interviewed by Radiosei FM 98.1 to speak further about this initiative.
“For anyone who has been following this incredible story – regarding the status and future of Italian football – I think that they must have been even more worried after the statements that were made by Minister Spadafora to the ‘Frontiere’ program on Rai 1.”
“On one hand, he formally stated he would do everything to resume the 2019/20 season if the Technical-Scientific Committee (that is currently working on the case) gives the ‘ok’. But, on the other hand, he said something that left me very perplexed, referring to the fact that the Government of Italy – in case of the permanent suspension of the 2019/20 Serie A season – would be ready to guarantee the economic coverage for professional clubs that find themselves in financial difficulty.”“In Italy, there are two or three top-tier teams that would find themselves in great economic difficulty. Lazio is not among them, as they could use public money to overcome a crisis that would become inevitable with the definitive suspension of the 2019/20 Serie A season. But it doesn’t seem fair to us, at a time like this, to divert funds from the state that could be used for other social and emergency needs… The 2019/20 Serie A season must resume safely and without wasting public resources.”
“The Lazio Consumers Committee wanted to raise public awareness for fans about possible political failures, and as a result, did so by launching the petition for the resumption of the championship. The news that just arrived about the postponement of the Federal Council leads us to stand with our eyes wide open: there is a specific FIGC protocol, developed by Professor Capua, which could be perfect for defining a safe restart. However, at the moment it risks being blocked by incomprehensible dissuasive attitudes of the Minister in Sport.”
“The football industry has over 100 professional clubs, five million members, and one and a half million professionals. In addition, the football system produces such an enormous GDP that it ranks among the top five industries in Italy. For these reasons, permanently suspending the current Serie A season would clearly create enormous structural and economic problems for all related industries, including the other sports federations that are linked to the football system.
“In Germany and England, they are talking about a much more constructive approach, even evaluating the possibility of relocating the completion of their championships. Even if every country has to take extreme measures, what I can’t understand is the fact that these countries (including Italy) are thinking more about the next season’s championship instead of completing the current one that only has twelve rounds left…”
“With the utmost respect for this emergency, I believe that each of us must make a contribution. As a ‘Consumers Committee’, we have done our part by promoting this petition; we hope that sportspeople, fans, and professionals worldwide can help us by signing it.”
Spadafora has admitted that he hopes Italian football to return soon. However, he also stated that it is impossible to say when football could return for the time being, therefore, contradicting his statements. All sporting events have been on hold for nearly two months as a result of Coronavirus; the worst of which appears to have passed in Italy, which has now entered into Phase Two of the recovery process.