Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has allowed professional athletes to start training from May 4 onwards paving the way for footballers to resume activities but under strict social distancing rules. The Italian Serie A was suspended indefinitely last month due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic which has so far claimed over 26,000 lives in the country. Also Read - Delhi Unlock: From Restaurant Timings to New Rules For Bars, All Your FAQs Answered

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“From May 4 onwards, professional athletes and those of national interest will be able to train while following social distancing rules behind closed doors,” Conte was quoted as saying by Also Read - Major Milestone: Andhra Pradesh Sets New Record by Vaccinating 13.45 Lakh People in a Day

However, training for team sports will resume from the third week of Mat only provided the conditions are deemed safe enough, Italian sports minister Vincenzo Spadafora said.

“We’ll resume training for team sports from May 18, but only if the conditions of safety and security can be confirmed over the next few weeks,” he said. “I don’t wish to penalise or slow down the resumption of football, but I have to say we’ll see because there need to be rigid and certain protocols in place on the safety of the athletes.”

Spadafora also revealed there’s a strong pressure to resume the season even as proposal for resumption presented by the Italian football federation was deemed insufficient by a scientific committee.

“The FIGC (Italian football federation) presented a protocol last night and the scientific committee considered it insufficient, so it needs adjustments. Only from that moment, when the protocol is agreed, can we decide whether or not to restart football,” Spadafora said.

He continued, “Many leagues around Europe have terminated their seasons early, but Serie A is not inclined towards suspending the season or even training. We are receiving very strong pressure to resume. We realise that the world of football deserves respect and support, as it is one of the largest economic resources in the country.”