An Italian consumer protection association has threatened Serie A clubs with legal action should they fail to reimburse ticket holders who will miss games due to the spectator ban.
Codacons said it is ready to act after the government ordered that all sporting events, including 30 top-tier Serie A football matches, are to be played behind closed doors until April 3 to halt the spread of the coronavirus.
Codacons is concerned that a variety of ticket sales contracts among Serie A clubs could leave tens of thousands of fans out of pocket. With an average attendance of 27,000, around 810,000 tickets will now be either unsold or, in the case of season tickets, unused.
Juventus, Internazionale and Atalanta are among the 11 clubs that do not confirm refunds in their ticket sales contracts.
Carlo Rienzi, president of Codacons, said: “It is clear that, in the event of limitations to the public for football matches, whoever has tickets and season tickets in hand is entitled to a refund, as is the case for air tickets and holiday packages not used at home by the coronavirus.
“In particular, the companies will have to return the unused portion of the season ticket to the users, proportional to the number of matches played behind closed doors, and fully refund the individual tickets, considering that the payment will not be made in return for a payment by consumers.
“If the football clubs refuse to order reimbursements in favour of the fans, a maxi-class action will be launched against them promoted by Codacons on behalf of thousands of users damaged in their fundamental rights.”
Sports news site Tuttosport reports that Serie A teams are looking at agreeing a league-wide solution to protect the interests of the fans. The report claims that “Juventus, as well as Inter and Milan are working out a solution and, within a maximum of 10 days, you will know something.”
Five clubs – Naples, Bologna, Parma, Turin and Fiorentina – provide for full compensation if games are ordered to be played behind closed doors.
AC Milan provides a refund if the postponement exceeds a week or more, while Lazio offers a ticket for an alternative game.
As well as the football matches being played closed doors, Italy’s Six Nations rugby match against England, scheduled for March 14, has also been called off entirely.
More than 100 people have died from the coronavirus in Italy, with more than 3,000 having been infected.
Image: Juventus (Twitter)