The secret behind Italian football club Napoli's successful 2011-12 season is out. A strictly enforced policy of 'no-sex two days prior to a game' implemented by the outfit seems to be the reason why the Italian club won the Italian Cup last year, finished fifth in Serie A and reached the quarterfinals in the UEFA Champions League.
Napoli's chief medic Professor Alfonso De Nicola spilled the beans to a Italian newspaper. According to a recent report from Football Italia, the doctor claimed a sex ban keeps players out of harm’s way. De Nicola told the paper, Corriere del Mezzogiorno, that the club's success was avoiding sexual activity for two days before every match. The doctor claimed that this helped the players since they avoided muscular strains, contractions or inflammations.
The newspaper quoted De Nicola as saying, "Avoiding sexual activity for two days before a game is fundamental to prevent muscular strains, contractions or inflammations."
He added, "It is the rule for our squad. There is also a specific work done by my staff and the fitness coaches which is aimed more at prevention than cure. The players must be praised for the professional approach they take in their private lives too. They must always continue certain exercises at home that are taught in the training camp."
The squad, expertly led by manager Walter Mazzarri, only had fifty injuries that prevented footballers from playing in an official game last season. This is great when compared to other Italian clubs like AC Milan, who had 260 injures and Internazionale, who had 188 injuries.
The medical staff's other recommendations include sticking to a strict eating timetable, organic meals, not drinking alcohol and reporting every muscular twinge.
This seems especially good advice when taken in the backdrop of AC Milan midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng's thigh injury last season that his girlfriend blamed on their frequent sex sessions.
This is not the first instance of sportspersons going 'celibate' to improve their game. The ancient Greeks believed athletes should avoid sex before sport. Boxer Muhammad Ali also reportedly went without sex for six weeks before a big fight, and during the 1998 soccer World Cup, the then English coach Glenn Hoddle famously forbade his squad from having sex during the month-long event.
Recently, Italian swimmer Filippo Magnini, boyfriend of Olympic champion Federica Pellegrini, has revealed he will be refraining from sex during the 2012 London Games.