Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu slams ‘alarmist’ Napoli chief Aurelio De Laurentiis for using coronavirus to attempt to switch Champions League clash to neutral venue away
- Aurelio De Laurentiis urged for Champions League tie to be played neutrally
- The Napoli chief cited fears of coronavirus cases rising within Spain
- Barcelona vs Napoli is finely poised at 1-1 following the first leg in Italy
- Barca chief Josep Bartomeu has hit out at De Laurentiis for ‘alarmist’ words
Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu has hit out at his Napoli counterpart Aurelio De Laurentiis, after he urged for a relocation of the Champions League tie between the two sides.
The Napoli chief stressed that the rises of coronavirus cases in Spain had become an issue again, just before his side were due to travel to play the away fixture with the tie finely poised at 1-1 on aggregate.
In his statement De Laurentiis described the situation in the region as ‘critical’, yet Barca top brass Bartomeu had swiftly labelled this ‘alarmist.’
Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu took exception to Napoli trying to move the fixture
‘I do not share at all the words of the president of Napoli,’ Bartomeu told reporters this week, as report Mundo Deportivo.
‘He has his reasons but I think it is logical that we try to make things return to normal and normality is that the teams play in their stadiums.
‘Alarmist messages like his are bad for everyone, the correct message is that of UEFA, who are trying to ensure that normality is restored and we all follow the protocol.
Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis had called for the game to be moved to Portugal
‘I very much agree with UEFA and also with the finals in Lisbon.
‘From the beginning we thought it would be played here, it would have been very strange not to play at Camp Nou.’
The fixture will now be concluded in Barcelona, before the victors of the tie will move to Portugal where the latter stages of the Champions League will become a close-quarters affair in a small bubble, to minimise the risk of infections.
On the matter, De Laurentiis had said: ‘I hear a lot of perplexity and fear coming from Spain and they’re acting like nothing is wrong.
The Catalan government insisted the situation was better after an increase in Covid-19 cases
‘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.
‘I don’t understand why it should stay in a city that has a really critical situation.’