Cancelling season would be the death of Italian football – FIGC president

The official has vowed to never scrap the campaign while still in charge of the sport in the country

Italian Football Federation (FIGC) president Gabriele Gravina said he will never cancel the Serie A season as it “would be the death of Italian football”.

The 2019-20 Serie A campaign has been suspended since March due to the coronavirus pandemic, but Italy prime minister Giuseppe Conte announced over the weekend that professional sports teams can resume training on May 18.

It still remains to be seen when, and if, the season will restart after France moved to scrap the 2019-20 Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 campaigns.

Gravina, however, vowed to never cancel the season amid ongoing debate over the resumption of the campaign in Italy.

“As long as I’m president of the FIGC, I’ll never sign off stopping the season because that would be the death of Italian football,” Gravina said during a virtual meeting with Serie B outfit Ascoli.

“I’m protecting the interests of everyone so, I repeat, I refuse to sign off a total shutdown, unless there are objective conditions relating to the health of everyone involved, but someone has to tell me clearly and stop me from moving forward.

“With a total shutdown, the system would lose €700-800 million. If we were to play behind closed doors, the losses would be €300m, and if we restarted with fans, the losses would amount to €100-150m, even though the latter isn’t viable.

“We have strong contractual responsibilities towards international partners and institutions, such as UEFA and FIFA.”

Defending champions Juventus were a point clear of Lazio through 26 games when Serie A came to a halt.

Lazio owner Claudio Lotito recently said he would accept a one-off match with Juventus to decide the Serie A title if the season cannot be resumed.

“Yes, I would accept it. But I never asked myself the question. Starting the season again disadvantages us in a way,” he told La Repubblica

“We had made a choice; believing that we could not play on three fronts, we had sacrificed the Europa League, because for timing and transfers it was the most uncomfortable competition.

“So, we would be able to play once a week while other teams played twice. If we start again, we would all play twice a week, so we would lose that advantage.”

There have been more than three million confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide, with over 227,300 deaths. In Italy, the death toll has exceeded 27,600, while the country has seen more than 203,000 cases.