Lazio Face Court over Possible Breaches of Coronavirus Rules

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Lazio will appear before an Italian court accused of breaking Covid-19 protocols, the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) said on Tuesday. After an investigation of positive tests at the club in October and November, federal prosecutors have decided to take Lazio club president Claudio Lotito and two medical staff to court. They are accused of possible "violations of federal standards" and "failure to comply with health protocols in force", said the FIGC statement.

The federation did not give details of possible penalties, but if found guilty, Lazio could face punishments ranging from a fine to a points deduction or even expulsion from Serie A.

Lazio are accused of failing to alert local health authorities when eight "staff" tested positive at the end of October, on the eve of a Champions League match in Bruges, then at the beginning of November, before another Champions League match in St Petersburg.

UEFA requires players and staff to undergo tests before European matches. At least one Lazio player was positive in UEFA tests but negative in Serie A tests in the same period.

The FIGC statement did not specify if the positive tests were returned by players or other employees.

The Federation also criticised Lazio for "not having prevented" three players from taking part in a squad training session on November 3, despite a positive test the day before.

Lazio is also said to have fielded players in Serie A who should have been in "a period of compulsory isolation, in the absence of symptoms, of at least 10 days".

The FIGC said the accusation centres on one player who appeared for Lazio in a win at Torino on November 1 and another who took part in a home draw against Juventus on November 8.

While the FIGC did not name the players, the first could be Ciro Immobile, the top scorer in Serie A last season.

He had to miss both Champions League matches on the basis of the UEFA tests but Lazio picked him in the league against Torino on November 1, after further tests conducted under Serie A protocols.

A spokesperson for Lotito later said it was only about "different interpretations" of the Covid-19 rules in a statement.

"This is a matter relative to the different interpretations of the Covid-19 rules, both in terms of the duty to communicate to the local health authority and the interpretation of how to apply certain parameters of the medical protocol," Lotito's spokesman Roberto Rao said in a statement posted on the club's website.

"We await the confirmation of a hearing date in front of the federal tribunal. We trust in sporting justice, which will establish the correct reconstruction of the events and recognise the club is totally extraneous to any responsibility."