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Ronaldo 'violated' Covid protocol, says Italy's sports minister

fbl/SerieA/Juventus/ITA/POR/health/virus

By AFP - Oct 16,2020 - Last updated at Oct 16,2020

Portugal's forward Cristiano Ronaldo controls the ball during the UEFA Nations League football match between Sweden and Portugal on September 8 in Solna, Sweden (AFP photo by Jonathan Nackstrand)

MILAN — Cristiano Ronaldo could have violated Italian coronavirus measures by returning to Turin from Portugal after testing positive, Italy's sports minister Vincenzo Spadafora said on Thurs-day.

"Yes, I think so, if there were no specific authorisations from the health authority," Spadafora told Radio Uno when asked whether the 35-year-old Portuguese star's return had breached COVID-19 rules.

Ronaldo left the Portuguese team camp near Lisbon on Wednesday to fly back to Northern Italy on his private jet.

"Cristiano Ronaldo returned to Italy with a medical flight authorised by the competent health au-thorities at the request of the player and will continue his isolation at his home," Juventus said.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner was "asymptomatic" after testing positive on Monday, the day af-ter Portugal drew 0-0 with France in Paris.

However, the incident renewed controversy over his departure from Turin the previous week, which local health authorities said breached virus protocols after two Juventus staff members test-ed positive.

"I think that, at the moment, the protocols in force for the sports championships, both for Serie A football and for the sports associations and clubs are valid as long as they are respected," said Spa-dafora.

"And if there is someone who does not respect them, then the cases that we read in the news are created.

"If they are respected, and if the general situation of the country allows it, I hope that leagues at all levels can continue in the best possible way in the interest of the players, staff, but also all sports fans in Italy."

The entire Juventus team were back in isolation on Wednesday evening after US midfielder Wes-ton McKennie tested positive.

Both McKennie and Ronaldo are in quarantine, for at least ten days, and must test negative before rejoining their teammates.

Under UEFA rules a player must provide evidence that he is no longer sick a week before a Europe-an match.

Ronaldo who will miss Juventus's Champions League opener against Dynamo Kiev on October 20, must test negative on October 21 to play against Barcelona a week later.

Spadafora rejected a call from the Italian regions to open stadiums to 25 percent capacity from the current maximum of 1,000.

"For now we cannot authorise it," he said.

"At least until next month, we have to see how the contagion curve will go from here until mid-November."

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