Eccentric Lazio President Claudio Lotito has offered an unusual analogy in a bid to defend his team’s Covid-19 testing system after a series of contentious results.
Lazio have been caught up in Covid confusion in recent weeks after Ciro Immobile, Lucas Leiva and Thomas Strakosha all tested positive for the virus for consecutive Champions League games in procedures conducted by UEFA, but returned negative results in separate tests for the Serie A games against Juventus and Torino.
The Lazio medical team have put the discrepancy down to different approaches to the tests done by UEFA and the ones carried out at their Future Diagnostica laboratory in Avellino.
Wading in, longtime Lazio chief Lotito attempted to explain with a reference to the female sexual organs.
“It’s like a magic trick, what even is positive?” Lotito told La Repubblica, as reported by Football-Italia.
“Positive means contagious, right? There are bacteria in the vaginas of all women in the world, that doesn’t mean they are pathogens. Only in some cases do they become pathogens and degenerate.”
Questions were raised over Immobile’s participation against Torino last weekend – when he scored an injury-time equalizer from the penalty spot – after missing the previous midweek game against Brugge in the Champions League.
Immobile, who won the European Golden Boot last season with 36 goals, was also absent when Lazio traveled to Zenit St. Petersburg in this week’s round of Champions League games.
“Our director Igli Tare is positive too, but nobody can tell us right now if someone is infectious or not,” Lotito added.
“There is this difference in the interpretation of results. Our medical staff evaluated Immobile, his lung capacity checks were better than before. We have the swab, he is negative and so is his family, so why can’t he play against Juventus on Sunday?
“I have asked the FIGC (Italian Football Federation) to introduce a single structure that can perform all the tests and have the same parameters for everyone.
“I suggested the Federlab, which already does them for Serie C. We need a third party that can end this chaos. We went to Avellino for our tests because the structures in Rome were already crowded and I didn’t want players to seemingly get preferential treatment, keeping others in line.”
After doubts were raised over Immobile, midfielder Leiva and goalkeeper Strakosha, they were tested separately at the Biomedical Campus of Rome, which returned three positive cases and now seems set to rule them out of Sunday’s clash with Juventus, although they are reported to be awaiting clarification.
Simone Inzaghi’s team currently lie 10th in the table after six games played, two points behind Sunday’s visitors and defending champions Juventus.