Serie A teams to resume training next week

Italian Serie A players won't have to train alone from next week with team training to return

Italy's Serie A clubs will be allowed to start team training from May 18.

So far players have only been allowed to train on an individual basis respecting social distancing rules, often with players having half a pitch to themselves.

Serie A has been suspended since March 9 and the government has yet to decide if it will allow the season to be completed, but Monday's announcement is a step forward.

The government said its technical-scientific committee had conducted a close examination of the protocol which the Italian football federation (FIGC) plans to implement to ensure training can be conducted safely.

In a joint statement from Health Minister Roberto Speranza and Sports Minister Vincenzo Spadafora, it said the committee had ordered some changes, which were not specified, but had given the green light for group training to restart.

"The committee's indications, which are to be considered stringent and binding, will be sent to the FIGC for the necessary adjustments to the protocol so as to allow the safe resumption of team training from 18 May," it said.

It added the government's changes "confirm the line of prudence followed so far by the relevant ministries."

Spadafora said two weeks ago the protocol was insufficient and threw doubt on whether the season would be able to restart.

The FIGC has said for the start of team training, each club should form a group of players, technical staff, doctors, physiotherapists and other staff who have tested negative for the virus and isolate them in a summer-style training camp.

It said all members of the group should be tested for the coronavirus in the 96 hours before the start of the training camp.

They will also be subject to extensive swab and antibody testing during the camp.

Players who have previously tested positive and since recovered will be undergo additional medical tests to find out if there are underlying health issues or side effects.

There are 12 rounds of matches still to play in Serie A plus a number of games from previous rounds. Title holders Juventus are one point clear of Lazio at the top.

Meanwhile, Swedish ace Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who has just returned to Milan, will observe a two-week quarantine as required by coronavirus safety measures.

The ANSA news agency reported the 38-year-old forward arrived late Monday, two months after leaving AC Milan because of the nationwide lockdown.

Ibrahimovic, who signed for a second term with the Rossoneri in January, will reportedly spend the next two weeks training individually at the Milanello camp.

He reportedly trained with Stockholm side Hammarby, which he co-owns, for part of his stay in Sweden.