Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis has asked UEFA to consider moving the Champions League last-16 tie against Barcelona out of Spain due to the recent spike in coronavirus cases.
Napoli is scheduled to travel to Barcelona on August for the second leg of the last-16 tie that finished 1-1 in Naples in February. The winner will join quarter-finalist in Portugal.
“I hear a lot of perplexity and fear coming from Spain and they’re acting like nothing is wrong,” De Laurentiis said. “What does it take to say, ‘Don’t go to Barcelona but rather go to Portugal, Germany or Geneva?”’
“If they’ve decided to play the Champions League in Portugal and the Europa League in Germany, I think we can go to Portugal or Germany for the round of 16,” De Laurentiis said. “I don’t understand why it should stay in a city that has a really critical situation.”
Players at Spanish clubs Sevilla FC, Real Madrid and Zaragoza recently tested positive for COVID-19, raising concerns over the safety of sports activities in the country.
Catalonia’s director of public health, Josep Argimon, said regional health officials have responded to a letter from UEFA inquiring about the health conditions in the Spanish city.
UEFA had announced that there was a Plan B for the round-of-16 games, saying they could also be moved to Portugal.