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Monday News & Notes: Friedkin Updates, COVID Concerns, and Stadium Delays

A smattering of news to start the work week.

Boca Juniors v Union - Superliga 2019/20 Photo by Marcelo Endelli/Getty Images

While we'd hope to kick off the new week with some firm news on Dan Friedkin's pending and increasingly delayed acquistion of AS Roma, that doesn't seem in the cards, and may not find a resolution before April, quite frankly.

So, without the big fish, let's dip our toes into the Roma waters and see what's biting on this Monday morning.

Guess What? The Stadio della Roma is Still Delayed

Il Romanista details the latest drama surrounding Roma's new stadium, you know, the one that was supposed to be built, like, four years ago.

The latest delay centers around the departure of Luca Parnasi, the disgraced soon to be former land owner of the Tor di Valle area. With Czech entrepreneur Radovan Vitek waiting to assume ownership of the land, Parnasi must settle his remaining debts before fully divesting himself form the property.

In other words, don't hold you breath, Dan.

Italy’s Minister for Sport Wants Sport Halted

Italy's top sporting dog, Vincenzo Spadafora, recently spoke to Rai Sport (link via RomaPress) about efforts to stem to tide of Coronavirus, suggesting the league suspend all matches.

Speaking of which, the lower leagues are already heading in that direction..

Serie D Games Suspended, Serie B Player Strikes, Will Serie A Follow?

Italy’s Serie D has officially called off all games until further notice, after two players reportedly contracted the COVID-19 virus over the last week. Both players have since recovered after being hospitalised, but enough was enough for D. In similar vein, two Serie B players have refused call-ups to tonight’s Chievo vs. Cosenza league game.

Consenza released a statement that they ‘reserve all rights to take action’ but it was unclear who they’re making that barb towards. The players’ refusal to play goes in line with Damiano Tommasi - President of the Players’ Union - stating that no player in any of Italy’s football leagues wants games to go ahead right now.

Tommasi released his opinion just before the early kick-off to this past weekend’s Parma vs. SPAL game in A, which was itself delayed by 75 minutes after both captains returned to the dressing rooms, with both sets of players initially determined to call the game off. It seems only a matter of time - perhaps even as soon as the joint CONI-FIGC emergency meeting scheduled for tomorrow - until Serie A announces the season is suspended indefinitely.

Tonight’s Brescia vs. Sassuolo game could very well be the last Serie A action we see for a while.

Lazio Call for Serie A to Stay Open Amid TV Money Concerns

It really seems like everyone is determined to make Juventus look like the good guys this season. Inter have been working around the clock to rub everyone the run wrong, and now Lazio have outdone them with the club’s communications director Arturo Diaconale publishing a Facebook post insisting that the show must go on.

That in itself may seem innocuous, and some may even agree with Diaconale’s sentiment; that is until you read his reasoning. Diaconale cited the potential TV money lost by Serie A clubs as a reason to keep playing on.

Yes, amid people being fined and forced to stay at home in Lombardia and medics country working around the clock, nationwide, to decide who lives and dies in Italy’s hospitals, Lazio’s director is trying to create a siege mentality around the club’s potentially “lost Scudetto challenge” and Serie A’s TV-money lifeline.

I’m one of the last people in the world to bang on a moral drum, but do Italy’s clubs and players really want to come across as this out of touch with reality?

Italian Police Request Sevilla-Roma Fixture Behind Closed Doors

According to the Corriere dello Sport (link via FI), Italy's national police service, Jupol, has sent an official letter to the Spanish government requesting that Thursday's Europa League fixture between Sevilla and Roma, played in Spain, take place behind closed doors.

The CdS reports that roughly 600 Roma fans are planning on travelling to the match, prompting officials to request additional health and safety measures, including hiring a third party to sanitize vans and even uniforms.

Friedkin Signatures Delayed...again (Link in Italian)

Not even Dan Friedkin's acquisition of AS Roma, an operation done on the other side of the Atlantic, can escape the reach of the Coronavirus. With Italy in a veritable state of emergency due to the sweeping effects of COVID-19, the fate of the 2019-2020 Serie A season is reportedly hanging in the balance; a prospect that is slowing Friedkin's acquisition of the club.

Should Serie A come to a halt for the season, Roma's revenues would necessarily suffer, meaning the actual value of the club would decrease in kind, meaning the price the two parties agreed upon in December may no longer be accurate.

Negotiations are still expected to be finished by the end of the month, but it's something to keep an eye on.

More on the Pallotta-Friedkin Group Talks in America

Gazzetta dello Sport leads with the story that there is no story, as far as Pallotta handing over the reigns of A.S. Roma to suitor Dan Friedkin. After a weekend where Il Tempo’s reporters partially retracted their ‘exclusive’ of contracts being signed, there’s been no announcement on the Italian stock market of any change of ownership or any kind of formal agreements in the works, this Monday.

The Gazzetta even goes as far as to report that the Italian stock market watchdogs are investigating the jump in Roma’s stock price over the weekend (+13%) that went contrary to the loss in value suffered by rivals Lazio and Juventus in the very same week. Today, however, Roma’s stock price has fallen -18% after it’s reported the Friedkin Group are slamming the brakes and evaluating the potential matchday income lost by the club, should the current Serie A quarantine continue into spring.

De Rossi won the League with Boca

Unceremoniously dumped by Roma, Daniele De Rossi, still believing he had quality football left in him, followed his heart to Buenos Aires to play for Boca Juniors, a club he'd followed from afar for many years.

While De Rossi's Argentinian adventure started off well enough, a goal in his first appearance, he was soon derailed by a string of nagging injuries, limiting him to a total of 345 minutes in a Boca shirt. With the injuries piling up and family concerns drawing him back to Rome, De Rossi officially put his playing days behind him in early January.

It was a somewhat sad ending to a joyous career, but there does appear to be a happy epilogue at least. Following Boca's capture of the Superliga title, it was announced that De Rossi, despite retiring in the middle of the season, will receive a winner's medal--the first league title of his career.

We'll provide updates on any of these stories as they come. Stay tuned.