The Italian government is still not ready to set a date for Serie A teams to start training again ahead of a possible resumption of the league, sports minister Vincenzo Spadafora said on Wednesday.
Spadafora, speaking after a meeting with the Italian football federation (FIGC), the Serie A league and players and referees' associations, said a decision would be made in the next few days.
"I have listened with great attention to the different positions that have emerged and, in the coming days, after a discussion with the Ministry of Health, we will issue updated provisions regarding the possibility and methods for a re-start of training," he told reporters.
He said it was necessary to "have a deeper look at the aspects related to the possible resumption of training in maximum safety for the athletes and coaching staff of sports clubs."
Italy has been one of the countries worst affected by COVID-19 and professional football has been suspended since March 9. The FIGC and Serie A have both said they want to complete the season if possible.
The FIGC has already drawn up detailed guidelines for the resumption of practice, which would see the players isolated in training camps for the first few days.
Earlier, Spadafora told the Senate that "we are aware that we have to re-start because sport is important as an economic and social value, but we will do so with absolute respect for everyone's health."
He also criticised the media for focusing on whether Serie A would be finished.
"We know very well that football is valued as an economic asset but we know just as well that sport is not only football and that football is not only Serie A," he said.
German health minister open to soccer restart behind closed doors
Germany's health minister is open to a resumption of Bundesliga soccer matches on condition that they are played behind closed doors, he said on Wednesday ahead of a crunch decision by officials on Thursday.
Jens Spahn, recognising that such 'phantom games' are important for millions of soccer fans, said the decisive factor in making the judgment call on returning to action was whether the players' health could be secured.
"If this can be achieved with a minimised, or as far as possible excluded risk of infection, then it can certainly be done", Spahn said.
The Bundesliga has been suspended since mid-March due to the outbreak of the new coronavirus, which has infected more than 145,000 people and killed over 4,800 in Germany.
Regional leaders in Bavaria and North Rhine-Westphalia said on Monday that any league resumption would be without fans and that there would be no action before May 9.
Their statements were welcomed by both clubs and the German Football League (DFL) which will meet on Thursday to decide how long to extend the ban past the current April 30 date.