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Report: Italian soccer could return with Coppa Italia, then Serie A

Coppa Italia

MILAN, ITALY - FEBRUARY 13:Alexis Saelemaekers of AC Milan competes for the ball with Alex Sandro of Juventus during the Coppa Italia Semi Final match between AC Milan and Juventus at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on February 13, 2020 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images)

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Italian football could return from the coronavirus suspension by the end of May, and the Coppa Italia may precede Serie A.

The Italian Football Federation is aiming to begin training in early May with matches resuming in late May, though there will be strict rules to keep all involved safe.

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“As things stand today, the Serie A campaign could not resume, but it could do in a month’s time, albeit behind closed doors and with rigorous measures,” said Giovanni Rezza, director of the Department for Infectious Diseases at the Istituto Superiore di Sanita.

A report in La Repubblica says that play could restart with the second legs of the Coppa Italia semifinals, which would give the other 16 Serie A teams even more time to prepare for the season.

Napoli leads Inter Milan 1-0 and has its second leg at home, while Juventus and Milan drew 1-1 at the San Siro. Football-Italia says the final could come shortly after or be held until deep into the summer.

Soccer will be welcomed back, even behind closed doors, but the challenges in countries hit hard by coronavirus will serve as a model for many others. Italy appears ready to be one of the first to play its hand.