Cagliari say they will resume first-team training in small groups next week

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Serie A club Cagliari said their first team would resume training on Monday, despite the coronavirus pandemic, and that players would be divided into small groups to respect social distancing guidelines.

Italy has emerged as the worst-hit country outside China with 35,713 confirmed cases and 2,978 deaths as of Wednesday. Serie A was the first of the big five European national leagues to be suspended.

Despite this as well as a nationwide lockdown until April 3, the club, which is located on the island of Sardinia, said they were ready to re-start training.

"Cagliari Calcio announces that the resumption of the first team's athletic activities has been scheduled for Monday, March 23rd," said a statement. "The sessions will be held by dividing the players into groups, in order to ensure proper compliance with health regulations."

However, the Italian players' union (AIC) has said that teams should not train at present.

"We have denounced the behaviour of some clubs because they even want the players to train during these days," said AIC president Damiano Tommasi on Monday. "The players should also stay at home in this situation."