Italian Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte, has confirmed Serie A clubs will be allowed to return to individual training on May 4, while squad sessions will be permitted as of May 18.
Italy was the initial epicentre for the coronavirus outbreak in Europe and remains the worst-affected country on the continent according to official figures. Just short of 27,000 people in the country had died as of Monday evening as a result of COVID-19, per the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University.
Serie A was the first of Europe’s five major leagues to suspend play on March 10. Conte said players could resume training gradually as Italy looks to ease lockdown measures at the beginning of May, per Gazzetta dello Sport (via BBC Sport):
"We need to complete all the discussions to ensure that if we do reach that stage, we'll do so in the utmost safety and security. We are passionate about sport and don't want our athletes to get sick.
"I'm passionate for football. Like many Italians, I initially found it strange that the championship could be interrupted or suspended but I think that even the most ardent fan understands that there wasn't an alternative."
Agence France-Presse highlighted Serie A is ahead of schedule when compared to its European peers in eyeing an early return amid the pandemic:
It's understood the plans are to bring Serie A matches back by May 27 with a view to ending the season by early August if it's deemed safe to do so.
The move to allow individual training as of May 4 is in line with Italy’s other lockdown measures being peeled back on the same date. Conte also confirmed the country had seen 260 coronavirus-related deaths on Sunday, its lowest 24-hour increase since March 14.
Juventus lead Lazio at the Serie A summit with 12 matches left to play, while eight of the 20 clubs have 13 fixtures remaining on their schedule.
UEFA, European football’s governing body, recently revealed guidelines for national associations to follow in concluding their 2019-20 campaigns, urging leagues to decide final tables based on “sporting merit” above all else where possible.