COVID-19 cases in Bosnian Team led to Postponement Of Europa League Qualifier
Initially, the qualifying games for both Europa League and Champions League were to be held this month. This was decided to streamline the football gaming season 2020-21. But, since the players have been found infected by the virus causing a global pandemic, this decision was in favor of common welfare.
From all the players found positive, maximum are from Eastern European clubs. Teams like FK Željezničar and Maccabi Haifa F.C. have expressed their views about their match rescheduling on Thursday. Games for both these teams have been rescheduled by the Israeli Ministry of Health. FK Željezničar also said that the players showed no symptoms of carrying the virus.
Rescheduling of Bosnia-Herzegovina’s Game
This would be the 5th game in the qualifier games that have been postponed due to a coronavirus case. Bosnia-Herzegovina players were diagnosed positive for the virus while they were visiting for their Europa League game. Their game was supposed to be held on Thursday against Israel.
However, their positive results have resulted in the match postponement. The club has officially released a statement saying that 5 players from their team have been found positive. The tests were done on Wednesday i.e. a day before the game.
The authorities have made it compulsory to perform COVID tests on players and staff from all participating clubs. This rule has been implemented on all UEFA-organized tournaments or games. All teams that have positive-tested members have been quarantined in their hotels.
Further decisions or instructions will be provided by UEFA sooner. These will guide the clubs for proceeding in the tournament. The Union of European Football Associations has already redesigned the gaming structure and norms during the pandemic.
However, they now have the responsibility of providing further guidance on what the clubs will do. They will also have to see through how they will conduct the qualifying matches for the upcoming season. The match fixtures, distribution, qualifying teams, and many other aspects are yet to be decided.
How did UEFA react to the increased positive cases?
While there was no instant reaction from the association, they did release their official comment. But this was after Bosnia-Herzegovina’s positive test results. Organizing large-scale events has become a challenge under the worldwide pandemic situation, and UEFA did it’s best to overcome these barriers.
The schedules for the qualifying matches for Champions and Europa Leagues had tight deadlines. It happened as UEFA dropped their basic two-leg home-and-away match fixture option. They went for a modified single-elimination game.
The venues chosen were picked carefully to ensure the country has fewer infection rates. Originally, the Association had their eyes on taking the teams to Kosovo and Slovakia. After which they will be traveling down to Bosnia-Herzegovina. For the last postponed matches, the clubs had to forfeit after receiving orders from UEFA.
FC Drita and Slovan Bratislava have been removed from the qualifying rounds of the Champions League. While this decision has been taken by the UEFA, both clubs have appealed in their opposition. They have reached out to the Court of Arbitration for Sport against rulings of the association.
However, the appeals from both clubs have been dismissed. The court stated that this was a necessary call for an emergency.
Another club, Gjilani, was allowed to play for 4 days in the Europa League before their game got rescheduled. They lost with 0-2 in their match against APOEL on 21st August 2020.
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