Italy's Serie A Moving Forward With Soccer Matches Despite High Level of COVID Cases

Even though one in every 10 players in Italy's Serie A is currently positive for COVID-19, the Italian soccer league still intends to go forward with a full match schedule on Thursday and Sunday, after its two-week holiday break.

More than 60 players total were reported to have contracted the virus across the league's 20 clubs. In the Salernitana club alone, which is in last place, nine players are positive for the virus.

Inter Milan, Napoli and Juventus are all also missing top players. Still, all 20 clubs are scheduled to play in 10 matches both on Thursday and Sunday.

Salernitana's matchups with Venezia and Hellas Verona on Thursday and Sunday, respectively, may still be halted if local health authorities decide to stop the team from competing.

Salernitana did not play its last match of 2021 against Udinese after a local health authority banned them from traveling because of the COVID cases among the players, the Daily Mail reported.

Serie A has also resisted postponing the Italian Super Cup next week at the San Siro in Milan despite requests for a delay from Inter and Juventus.

Serie A COVID Outbreaks
Even though one in every 10 players in Italy's Serie A soccer league is currently positive for COVID-19, the league still intends to go forward with a full match schedule on Thursday and Sunday after its holiday break. Above, Hirving Lozano of SSC Napoli and Jakub Kiwior of Spezia Calcio compete for the ball during the Serie A match between SSC Napoli and Spezia Calcio at Stadio Diego Armando Maradona on December 22, 2021, in Naples, Italy. Ivan Romano/Getty Images

Even former Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, now back with Parma in Serie B, has tested positive.

Stadium capacities have been reduced from 75 percent to 50 percent following a government decree aimed at combatting the latest outbreak, and spectators must now wear FFP2 masks.

There is still a question about whether the decree requires all Serie A players to be vaccinated, but that debate could end if the government requires all workers in the country to be vaccinated by February 1.

While nearly all Serie A players have been vaccinated—about 98 percent—nearly 30 players have reportedly been resisting the vaccine.

Players on foreign clubs traveling to play Italian teams would likely be exempt from the vaccination requirement.

In Germany, Bayern Munich players Leroy Sané and Dayot Upamecano have both tested positive for the coronavirus, bringing the club's current number of confirmed cases to nine.

"Both players are well and are self-isolating," Bayern said Tuesday.

Manuel Neuer, Kingsley Coman, Corentin Tolisso and Omar Richards, as well as assistant coach Dino Toppmöller, were already in quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19 over the weekend, while Lucas Hernández and Tanguy Nianzou brought the team's total

Bayern is scheduled to play in the Bundesliga on Friday against Borussia Mönchengladbach, which has also reported players out with infections.

Also, Borussia Dortmund midfielder Marius Wolf will miss Saturday's game at former club Eintracht Frankfurt.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Soccer COVID Outbreak
More than 60 soccer players total were reported to have contracted the COVID-19 virus across the Italian professional league's 20 clubs. Above, Hakan Calhanoglu of FC Internazionale is seen in action during the Serie A match between FC Internazionale and Torino FC at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on December 22, 2021, in Milan. Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images