Barcelona president Bartomeu condemns Napoli counterpart on Covid-19 claims

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has condemned the “alarmist” words of his Napoli counterpart Aurelio De Laurentiis ahead of their Champions League Round of 16 return leg.

The second leg of their tie is scheduled for Saturday (8 August) at the Camp Nou, and Bartomeu’s comments come after Napoli president De Laurentiis called for the tie to be moved to a neutral venue.

Last week, it emerged that UEFA had approached the Health Department of the Generalitat in Catalonia to seek further assurances of the health of all participants ahead of the tie after a spike in Covid-19 infections in the North-Eastern area of Spain.

However, the Catalan government have subsequently confirmed that the game can safely be held at the Blaugrana’s home stadium due to the current situation.

“I do not share at all the words of the president of Napoli,” Bartomeu told BeIn Sports, in quotes carried by El 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. 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 situation is improving in Barcelona and in Catalonia, infections are receding, we wear a mask and we comply with hygiene to the maximum, the situation is normal.”

The first leg of the clash between the two ended 1-1 all the way back in February in Naples, with the winners taking on either Bayern Munich or Chelsea in the last eight.

The Champions League matches will be held at neutral venues in Germany from the quarter-final stage onwards this year.

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