The rules Serie A are planning to use to resume the season

Team photos and mascots banned, a mandatory eight-question form on COVID-19 symptoms for anyone attending games and a possible yellow card for spitting! The rules Serie A are planning to use to resume the season

  • Serie A is working towards a return in order to complete the 2019-20 season
  • Team photos will be abolished and mascots will not emerge with the players
  • Players risk being awarded a yellow card if they fall foul of the rules on spitting
  • Sportsmail looks at the protocol the league is looking at to get games back on 

Having seen the Bundesliga in Germany resume their 2019-20 season, Serie A chiefs are looking to follow suit.  

The Italian Football Federation has decided teams in the country’s top three tiers must complete the 2019-20 season by August 20, with the 2020-21 campaign scheduled to begin on September 1.

But with a desire to finish the current campaign – with Juventus just one point ahead of Lazio in the title race – a number of strict measures need to be introduced to ensure the safety of players, coaches and others who are allowed to attend.  

Handshakes will be banned and superfluous contact banned under new Serie A guidelines

In a bid to get games back on behind closed doors, Serie A will have a series of strict rules

Meanwhile, Italian Minister of Sport Vincenzo Spadafora has confirmed decisions made regarding league competition will be ratified in a council meeting on May 28.

‘The Italian Football Federation has expressed its willingness to restart and complete its national professional competitions, marking August 20 as the deadline for Serie A, B and C to close their competitions,’ a FIGC statement read.

‘Ahead of the restart of sporting activity, it will be the Federal Council’s competence to determine the criteria whereby competitions will be finalised.

‘Finally, as a result of what has been sanctioned, the 2020-21 sporting season will start on September 1.’ 

Team photos would breach social distancing and substitutes will be required to wear masks and be separated by at least 1.5 metres, as has been seen in Germany. 

Sportsmail looks at the rules that are to be introduced to ensure a safe transition back to playing games.  


Everything from the moment players, staff and media arrive at the stadium to navigating through the facility will be strictly monitored. 

Protocol will see increased hand-sanitising stations while there will be rules to ensure social distancing is respected throughout. 

The teams will enter the pitch separately to avoid meeting in the tunnel, as is typical under normal circumstances. 

Handshakes will be prohibited, team photos will be scrapped, and there will be no mascots to accompany the players onto the pitch. These rules represent a new phase of football in Italy.

Only 300 people will be allowed at games and medical checks and a questionnaire will be key


Much like has been seen in Germany, it will be imperative for substitutes and coaches on the bench to keep at least two or three places away from each other. 

Everyone must wear a mask while not in action on the pitch. 

Managers will only be able to remove their mask to give instructions to his players but in doing so, he must provide the instructions at a distance of at least one and a half metres. 


There will be a maximum of 300 people in the stadium and there will be no contact with the referees before the start of the match. 

Monumental stadiums that can hold up to 80,000 people will be reduced to a small. number of key workers. 

The 300 people allowed to intend does include the players and the non-playing staff of the two teams. 

Team photos, such as this Lazio one from October, will be scrapped under new guidelines

There will be gel dispensers dotted across all areas of the stadium, as well as in the changing rooms, to ensure cleanliness. 

Anyone who is involved in the day will have to undergo a health check by completing a questionnaire on symptoms of Covid-19 – it includes eight questions. 

Journalists who are eligible to attend games will not be able to access the press room. It will remain closed.


To ensure players avoid contact with saliva, it will be strictly forbidden to spit while on the pitch.

It is an unhygienic habit that has been visible for many years in football but with the current public health situation, a hard line will be taken if players are seen to be spitting. 

There will be no more handshakes and the toss of the coin to choose the side of the pitch and who has the ball will no longer be key parts to starting the match.

In another measure to observe social distancing where possible, during the match it will be forbidden to protest decisions and go within less than 1.5 metres of the referee.

Referees will be protected by social distancing with appeals required to be at least 1.5m away


For the changing rooms, the plan is to open up adjacent rooms and as allow for as many chairs as possible to ensure adequate social distancing.

The rooms must be disinfected regularly – even between the end of the first half and the beginning of the second. 

Players will only be able to use single showers, without ice tubs or a whirlpool. Only referees may enter the referees’ room.

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Marquand believes Aussie rules could pave way for return to racing

Jockey Tom Marquand believes Aussie rules could pave way for return to racing in Britain during coronavirus pandemic

  • Racing is aiming to be one of the first sports to emerge from the lockdown 
  • Tom Marquand rode 26 winners in 11 weeks in Australia on Sydney’s racetracks 
  • And he believes riding under restrictions Down Under has shown Britain the way
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Jockey Tom Marquand believes his hugely successful stint in Australia riding under Covid-19 restrictions offers hope for the sport returning in Britain.

Racing aims to be one of the first sports to emerge from lockdown, with the British Horseracing Authority releasing a provisional list of big races it could run on the final two weekends of this month.

The first two Group One winners of Marquand’s career on William Haggas-trained Addeybb were among 26 winners he rode in 11 weeks Down Under. They were achieved on Sydney’s crowd-free racetracks.

Jockey Tom Marquand believes his successful stint in Australia offers hope for British racing

Marquand said: ‘The best way of putting it is ‘surreal’ but I don’t think it takes away from the achievement and satisfaction in winning. Even though there is no crowd, it had still taken the same amount of time and effort from everyone involved. There were presentations and everything carried on as normal except social distancing was observed.

‘I was kept separate for the first couple of weeks because I had only just got back into the country but after that I was in a room with one other jockey. The majority of the lads were in rooms with three of four people at a time. They were kept to those same groups at every meeting.

‘All sorts of rooms were used but they were near the necessary facilities like showers and toilets and there was a drinks fridge in each room. We were temperature tested on arrival at the track.

Marquand rode 26 winners in 11 weeks in Australia on Sydney’s crowd-free racetracks

‘Testing was the same for everyone who entered the racecourse. There was a list of everyone who was meant to be at the track. Anyone not on the list was not allowed in.

‘I’m far from a medical expert but it showed a system like that can work. It’s hopefully something we can base racing around to get us off the ground.’

Marquand has been self-isolating with partner and fellow jockey Hollie Doyle in the two weeks since returning from Australia but hopes to start riding next week.

The duo have been keeping fit cycling 25 to 30 miles a day and Marquand said: ‘I’ve been lucky to be get some big opportunities. Hopefully that will carry on when racing comes back.’

British Horseracing Authority have produced a provisional list of races to take place in May

Plans to re-start racing behind closed doors in Germany on Monday have been put on hold. 

It had been hoped to stage a meeting in Dortmund but plans have not received Government support.


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NCAA NIL rules, explained: What recommended updates mean for student-athletes, and what comes next

The NCAA on Wednesday announced it has accepted recommendations on how best to update its rules on name, image and likeness (NIL) compensation.

The announcement has been expected for some time, even as individual states passed their own legislation allowing for NCAA student-athletes to profit off their NIL. That said, the organization only accepted the recommendations from a working group — headed by Big East commissioner Val Ackerman and Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith — on how to implement these updates.

The final rules, which have yet to be defined and were left nebulous in Wednesday’s announcement, are not expected to go into effect in the 2020-21 academic career.

Those are just a few of the hurdles remaining before the NCAA will finally allow its student-athletes to profit off their NIL. Here’s what Wednesday’s announcement means for those players, and what happens next in that process:

When do NCAA NIL rules go into effect?

As of Wednesday, the NCAA only accepted recommendations that it update its current NIL rules. In its comprehensive report, however, it listed several key milestone left to achieve (and the expected date they’re to be completed) before NIL updates go into effect:

What is covered under recommended NIL rule updates?

The NCAA’s comprehensive report only stipulates rules changes be made for two categories: “third-party endorsements” and “compensation for student-athlete work product or business activities” — two areas that cover a lot of ground.

Basically, any proposed rules changes would allow student-athletes to do business with third parties for promotional activities and for them to receive compensation for outside business ventures. That also includes any potential compensation generated as a social media creator or influencer, assuming fair market value is in play.

That said, there are several proposed “guardrails” and areas of regulation that will determine whether a student-athlete’s NIL compensation would receive the NCAA’s blessing.

Proposed guardrails for NIL compensation

Below are potential guardrails the NCAA listed as to help monitor and regulate any potential student-athlete NIL earnings:

Assuming those precursors are met, schools and conferences must then ensure they do not make endorsement payments themselves; help locate, arrange or facilitate endorsement opportunities; or allow boosters to use such opportunities as a “recruiting inducement or a means of paying for athletics participation.”

Potential areas of NIL rules regulations

Apart from NIL guardrails, the working committee also included several areas that might consider further regulation or outright exclusion (based on the NCAA’s guiding principles):

NIL rules and the ‘NCAA Football’ franchise

Unfortunately for fans of the “NCAA Football” franchise, the committee did not recommend any changes to its NIL rules as it relates to group licensing, which would be required in order for the video game franchise to return.

Per the NCAA’s report:

“One of the critical lessons learned by the working group during its review of these materials was that the group licensing programs that currently exist in professional sports or the Olympics all benefit from legal structures not available to the NCAA or its member institutions, namely the presence of a player’s association to serve as a bargaining unit for the athletes (in the case of the NFL and MLB group licensing plans) or the presence of federal legislation conferring antitrust immunity related to sports marketing (in the case of the United States Olympic Committee). … The absence of similar legal structures in intercollegiate athletics greatly complicates the NCAA’s ability to pursue a group licensing approach similar to the models used in the professional context.”

A glimmer of hope: The committee did recommend that the divisions continue to research whether it’s possible to support group licensing.

Other areas not included in proposed NIL rules updates

Generally, any NIL compensation facilitated by universities or their governing conferences would be considered invalid under proposed NCAA NIL rules.

Moreover, the NCAA has determined that NIL rights will not extend to news reporting, commentary, entertainment, works of fiction or nonfiction or in incidental advertising, except in cases where the images are used to promote something other than the broadcast itself. That also includes issues where a person owns the copyright to a photo or image of a specific student-athlete. In that scenario, the Copyright Act would preempt any rights said athlete would have under publicity laws, determined state by state.

How do boosters fit into NIL rules?

As noted, one of the biggest areas of feedback regarding recommended NIL rules is how boosters will fit into that framework.

To that point, the committee recommended that outright banning boosters from meeting with student-athletes would be “unnecessarily restrictive.” To that end, the committee recommended possibly integrating a tier system when determining how to monitor boosters and whether any third-party compensation they might offer fits within NCAA rules.

The rules might require divisions to draw distinctions between types of boosters when evaluating participation in NIL activities. For example, a booster who has a long-standing association with the athletics department would have monitored more closely than would someone without such an affiliation.

“That is one of the big issues, of course, that the membership needs to develop guardrails around and determine if they’re engaged, and how, and make sure we have a process to monitor and enforce,” Smith told Sporting News’ Mike DeCourcy. “That has to go to the membership, and ultimately legislation will be developed around that. Their involvement will be defined.”

Potential impediments to enacting new NIL rules

The NCAA report listed several potential hurdles left to clear before it could enact updated NIL rules. Chief among them are current state laws which would supersede any NCAA rules — potentially endangering institutions’ NCAA eligibility in those states — and the potential of future antitrust litigation.

To date, California and Colorado are the only two states to have passed NIL legislation.

The NCAA Board of Governors also formed a Presidential Subcommittee on Congressional Action to guide the NCAA on how to seek Congressional help enacting any new NIL rules. The Presidential committee, per the NCAA’s report, recommended the NCAA take the following action in asking for Congressional help:

The subcommittee also advised the NCAA seek exemption from federal and state antitrust laws to avoid any future litigation in those arenas.

Seeking Congressional help at this time may be difficult for the NCAA, however, as Congress remains effected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

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