The Italian Football Association (FIGC) have launched an investigation into SS Lazio following suspicions surrounding the fielding of ineligible players and breaching of Covid-19 health and safety protocols.
Reportedly, Ciro Immobile, Thomas Strakosha and Lucas Leiva tested positive for coronavirus and were thus ruled out for their UEFA Champions League tie with Club Brugge. However, all three of the players were involved in Lazio’s matchday squad against Torino several days later, which saw Immobile score late on to secure a 4-3 victory for the Rome based side.
Following the inclusion of the players in the matchday squad, the FIGC have requested the results of the tests in order to deduct whether Covid-19 rules have been breached in this circumstance.
Lazio claimed that all three of the tests returned a false positive which indicates that ‘a test result has wrongly stated that a particular condition or attribute is present.’
Lazio President Claudio Lolito and physio Ivo Pulcini have already been questioned by the FIGC following the incident. If Lazio are found to be in breach of the strict Covid-19 rules, the club could face penalties including fines, a potential points deduction or possibly expulsion from Serie A.
Lolito criticised the Covid-19 testing process following the accusation that his club had breached the rules and suggested that changes should be made in order to reduce further controversies.
“I told you, it’s like a magic trick, what even is positive?” said Lolito.
“There’s uncertainty in the interpretation of the results. For me, doctors must make these evaluations. There isn’t an objective interpretation.
“This is why I asked (FIGC President) Gravina to introduce a measure that has everyone tested at the same place — I suggested Federlab.”
Lazio made an official statement on their club websites on November 4 in order to clarify their position on the current situation.
The statement read: ‘In relation to the press reports from the various media, it is announced that S.S. Lazio are in close contact with the state authorities and national and international sports institutions with which they have been in talks for several days in accordance with the applicable rules and protocols.
‘The tests carried out yesterday for the European competition have confirmed the positivity of some members of the squad who are already in isolation.
‘At the same time, the team, which continues to periodically monitor their players through qualified laboratories, have detected possible critical issues in relation to the results obtained by the European organisation and, in a climate of full collaboration and protection of the health of the entire squad and the wider community, are evaluating the individual conditions of some players.
‘They remain firm that any decision on this issue will be shared with UEFA also through the FIGC. In any case, we recommend the sports community to maximum caution in the disclosure of unfounded news and findings that could harm the right to privacy and the image of the club and their players.’