ROME: The Serie A match between Udinese and Salernitana in Udine was called off after the visitors failed to turn up.

Club officials reported that local health authorities had prevented the team from taking their scheduled afternoon flight after confirming several positives among staff and players.

Serie A officials claimed they were not notified in time and thus both referee and the Udinese took to the pitch before the ‘game’ was abandoned.

Angelo Fabiani, sports director of Salernitana said: “The health authority issued a statement that everyone who had been in contact with the positives should quarantine. It is not up to us, we have lost the costs of a scheduled flight. If an authority prevents us from going, how can we do it?”

Udinese sports director Pierpaolo Marino responded: “The match was not properly postponed so we were duty-bound to be present in compliance with the regulations.”

In October 2020 Napoli failed to turn up to play Juventus in Turin in similar circumstances. Juventus were initially awarded victory but Napoli appealed and the match was played the following April.

** Belenenses have failed with an appeal for their controversial Covid-hit Portuguese league match against Benfica to be replayed.

The original match was abandoned early in the second half after Belenenses were reduced by Covid and injuries to six players. The points were awarded to Benfica.

Belenenses appealed in vain to a clubs’ general meeting however a hasty rule change now lays down that a match cannot be started if one of the two teams doe not have at least 13 players available, of which one must be a goalkeeper.