Brescia president Massimo Cellino threatened Thursday to forfeit matches rather than let his struggling team take the field should the current Serie A season resume.
All sport in Italy is suspended until at least April 13 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic which has killed over 13,000 people in the country, with Brescia one of the worst affected areas.
“For me, returning to play is pure madness,” Cellino told daily Gazzetta Dello Sport.
“If they force us, I’m willing not to line up the team and lose the games 3-0 by default out of respect for the citizens of Brescia and their loved ones who are no longer there.”
Brescia are bottom of Serie A, nine points from safety, and would be favourites to drop down a division should the remaining 12 matches ever be played.
“I couldn’t care less about relegation. So far we have deserved it and I am to blame too,” said Cellino.
“Here we have trucks that transport the dead. We are at the centre of the epidemic.
“If UEFA wants to do something useful, send oxygen cylinders and respirators to Brescia, we would be grateful.”
Italian Football Federation (FIGC) president Gabriele Gravina has made it clear that his priority is the conclusion of the league, telling Tmw Radio that the current idea is “to start from May 20 or early June, to end in July”.
“There is even talk of August and September. I have specified that I would be sorry to take the risk of compromising another season to save this one,” Gravina added.
“If they force us, I’m willing not to line up the team and lose the games 3-0 by default out of respect for the citizens of Brescia and their loved ones who are no longer there”
But Cellino blasted the idea, saying that the season needed to be finished by the end of June “for the presentation of club budgets and player contracts” and questioning the impact on players.
“Players come from 45 days of total inactivity, it takes a month of training just to get them back into shape.
“Otherwise they risk breaking everything.”