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Football without fans? I'd rather not play, says Bologna's Mihajlovic

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Serie A - Atalanta v Bologna - Stadio Atleti Azzurri, Bergamo, Italy - July 21, 2020 Bologna coach Sinisa Mihajlovic reacts during the match, as play resumes behind closed doors following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) REUTERS/Alberto Lingria/File Photo

(Reuters) - Bologna coach Sinisa Mihajlovic would rather Serie A was not played next season if it meant more matches without fans, he said on Saturday.

Mihajlovic, who has continued coaching this season despite being treated for leukaemia, complained of “frigid football” and said that matches had been worse than training sessions.

“It’s not a question of motivation but playing without an audience is a pain,” he told reporters. “Playing without fans for a long time is tiring.

“I know it was the only way to finish the season, but I hope the stadiums will be open from September. If I had to choose between not playing next season or playing behind closed doors, I’d rather not play.”

Fans have been banned from stadiums because of the COVID-19 pandemic although sports minister Vincenzo Spadafora said on Friday that they could be allowed back in September depending on the public health situation.

“This football isn’t football,” said Mihajlovic whose side are 12th in the table and host relegation-threatened Lecce on Sunday.

“It’s played every three days in incredible heat. The championship is distorted. It’s frigid football that doesn’t excite me. These matches are worse than practice. Playing like this is a pain and it’s not just me who thinks like this.”

Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Toby Davis