In a first-of-its-kind case, SS Lazio are being investigated for playing with players who have tested positive for Covid-19. The talian giants are under investigation by The Italian Football Federation for fielding three Covid-19 positive players in their Serie A match against Torino on November 1st.
The Biancocelesti knowingly started three players in a Serie A fixture who tested positive for Covid-19. Ciro Immobile, Lucas Leiva, and Thomas Strakosha featured for Lazio in a dramatic 4-3 away win against Torino.
Ciro Immobile’s 95th-minute penalty drew Lazio level with Torino before Felipe Caicedo scored the winner 3 minutes later.
The Italian Football Federation recently issued statement on carrying out their investigation.
“We have ordered an inspection of Lazio’s training center, Formello, to verify compliance with the health protocols and to speak with President Claudio Lotito and Doctor Ivo Pulcini. We will also acquire the reports of the Covid-19 tests carried out before their matches against Brugge, and Torio.– FIGC statement regarding their investigation of Lazio.
Lazio’s line-up vs. Zenit alerted authorities
Lazio maintained that the Covid-19 results of the three players were false-positives, and thus it was safe to start them. The club raised suspicions when they left out the trio in question in Lazio’s midweek UEFA Champions League tie with Zenit St. Petersburg.
Rumors surfaced the reason for their absence against the Russian side was a positive Covid-19 result. After the match against Zenit, Lazio conducted two rounds of Covid-19 tests in the Biomedical Camp at Rome. The results were 3 more positive cases within the team.
Lazio maintain innocence, blame false-positive tests
Lazio director Igli Tare asserts that despite the recent outbreak of the disease in the team’s camp, Immobile, Lucas, and Strakosha played against Torino because of the Covid-19 results of the trio at that time were false-positives. He maintains Lazio’s innocence and assures of full compliance with the investigating authorities.
“We performed the usual swabs last week; hosted a visit from the Prosecutors’ Office twice and handed over all the tests. We did the tests again, on Friday and Saturday; they came back negative, so they played on Sunday. We are at the absolute disposal of the authorities; our conscience is clear, and we can only wait for the final results.”– Lazio’s director Igli Tare
Relegation unlikely but not impossible as Lazio brace for Covid-19 sanctions
While there is no formal regulation laid out for the severity of punishment in a case like this, Lazio should expect more than a slap on the wrist. Italy witnessed the deadliest Covid-19 break out in Europe in February and March. The nation has prepared itself for a second wave of the disease with new restrictions, and the Italian FA would be sure to reflect the seriousness of the issue in their verdict on Lazio’s situation.
Even if the trio’s results were false-positives, Lazio’s failure to turn over the positive results of the players to the authorities will be penalized one way or the other. While relegation of the team from Serie A would be harsh, points deduction, player suspensions, or a monetary fine are all possible.
The club braces itself for the judgment of the FIGC. As per their director, the Rome-based side will start star striker Ciro Immobile in their showdown against Juventus today. The Italian striker scored 36 goals in the league last year and has already netted thrice this season.
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