Serie C side Casertana have hit out at the authorities and their opponents after they were forced to play Sunday's match against Viterbese with nine men.
Casertana registered as many as 15 positive cases of Covid-19 prior to the encounter but were told they must play or face sanctions.
The club claimed, even, that some of those who took to the field were showing symptoms of coronavirus, but had returned negative tests prior to kick-off.
A hard-hitting statement from the club reads: “These are difficult days, full of fear and concern for all Casertana FC members as well as for their families.
“We have a squad decimated by a dangerous and devious virus. As many as 15 positive for Covid-19 cases have been present.
“In the presence of a situation, the dynamics of competition and agonism should leave room for pragmatism. And, instead, a few hours before kick-off of the match on the 16th matchday of the Serie C championship, Casertana FC is forced to take note of the refusal of US Viterbese 1908 to reschedule the fixture in the face of logic that should have made this an inevitable postponement, and the Lega Pro itself, which did not consider a postponement necessary.
“In compliance with Article 48, paragraph 3 of the NOIF (Italian Football Federation internal rules) which states: 'The obligation to field the best team allowed by one's own technical situation,' Casertana FC is forced to take the field against Viterbese with fewer players than 11.
"To this it must be added that some of them are feverish, although they returned negative results in the last cycle of tests. It is a danger to themselves and to others.
“We would have wished for greater respect for the real protagonists of this sport, those who go out on the pitch every day and who give their families a living thanks to what is a real job.
“In a historical moment in which Italian citizens are struggling, indeed they are forced to stay at home, a football team, decimated by an invisible enemy, is forced to take the field at all costs. It is an embarrassing signal to the entire community.
“In light of this, public health no longer becomes a priority, but it takes a back seat to other interests. We apologise to our fans, helpless victims like us in the face of an absurd decision.”
Casertana went on to lose the game 3-0.