Napoli president slams 'embarrassing' UEFA

Getty Images

A spike in positive COVID-19 cases in Catalonia led to talk that the Round of 16 second leg could be moved to a neutral venue, just as the quarter-final matches onwards are to be staged in Lisbon, Portugal.

However, UEFA confirmed on Friday (AEST) that the re-arranged tie – set for 9 August (AEST) and poised at 1-1 from the first leg – will still take place at Barcelona's home ground.

"We are monitoring the situation and are in touch with the relevant local authorities," a statement from the governing body read.

"The match is scheduled to take place in Barcelona as planned."

But outspoken Napoli president De Laurentiis is completely against the idea of his side travelling to an apparent coronavirus hotspot and has labelled UEFA's decision as "embarrassing".

"I don't understand why we have to go to a city that at the moment has huge problems," he told Italian news outlets.

"You hear huge fears from Spain, and UEFA just ignores the issue. I'm calling them constantly but it's embarrassing.

"How long would it take just to say that we could play in Portugal, Germany or Switzerland? It seems like we're back in school – nobody in UEFA knows how to do business."

Barcelona's most recent game at Camp Nou was a 2-1 league defeat to Osasuna on 17 July (AEST).

Speaking on Friday (AEST), Spanish health minister Salvador Illa admitted there is cause for concern with regards to the latest positive tests.

"The outbreak [in Barcelona] is worrying because of the density of the population," he said during a news conference.

"What is happening in Spain is happening in all the other countries in our region. This is a pandemic. We are on alert and acting appropriately.

"The majority of the outbreaks in Spain are under control.''