Roberto Bergonzi, is the lead organiser of the Italian Canaries and a member of the Canaries Trust. He recently featured in the April Trust newsletter as well as on the Norwich City website. You may recall that not only is he a passionate Norwich City supporter but he has also been working within Covid -19 specialist wards that were at the very epicentre of the Italian health crisis in Bergamo.
He wanted to update us and also express the collective views of the Italian Canaries about their concerns for football in Italy as well as here in the UK. Roberto states:
(Pictured: Roberto and his Son,Tommaso)
‘Having recently joined the Canaries Trust and seeing their statement about the resumption of professional football, I wanted to add the views and experiences of the Italian Canaries to this.
For our group in Italy, football is more than a passion, it's not just about supporting a team. There is a ritual. It begins every Thursday, when with our Norwich shirts on we go down the field for the 'over 40' games that inevitably end up with all of us in the pub! On the Saturday, we watch our children's football match and on the Sunday we go to the Atalanta stadium. Of course, to the delight of our wives, we do not miss a game on TV, especially if Norwich City are playing! For this reason, we are looking forward to being able to resume playing and to watch the games, especially as we have been closed in at home for two months! But we all agree that leaving home now would be too dangerous.
You may remember that some of the Italian Canaries work in the hospital in Bergamo, which had been the epicentre of the outbreak in Italy. After a sharp drop in Covid-19 infections, 'Phase' 2 in Italy began on May 4th. It means that people can get back to work, we can finally go to see our family, run and walk with our children. Group sporting activities are still not yet allowed, but that could soon start again. Right now, because we are doing better we must not frustrate all the efforts we have made so far! I work in the hospital, I have seen close up that things have changed since social distancing began.
Playing football could help cause a new outbreak of infections. I would need to turn up with a mask and gloves and avoid any contact with opponents, but this is not the sport I love. Youth football has already closed. Children can become infected without developing the disease, but bring the virus home and this will attack their family members.
What about Serie A? There is a clear parallel to the Premier League position. The Footballers’ Association and the Health Minister want to continue the suspension for the protection of athletes and their families. Most of the major clubs want to start again, they say for the fans, but in reality it is only for their economic interests.
Our opinion is that at this point it would be sensible to suspend the (Italian) championship and start again in September - at the earliest - with maximum safety conditions. Health naturally comes before money and it must!
In the mean time, for our Thursday games we will continue to respect all the rules. If we can't play and go to the pub we will engage in individual training and continue to share the beers during a videocall!
With best wishes to all Canaries fans around the World!
Thank you Roberto. We at the Trust are delighted that Roberto is able to report early improvements in Italy and we aim to have a further video call update from him over the next week or so.