Euro 2020: Ahead of the Euro 2020 this summer, COVID-19 complications have affected preparations of several teams with as many as six players testing positive.
Euro 2020: Players who have tested Covid-19 positive so far- Netherlands’ first-choice shot-stopper Jasper Cillessen became the first player to be infected by the virus on May 28 and was subsequently dropped from their squad for Euro 2020.
Further, the likes of John Fleck (Scotland) and Sergio Busquets (Spain) also tested positive for COVID-19 before another three players – Dejan Kulusevski (Sweden), Mattias Svanberg (Sweden) and Diego Llorente (Spain) – returned positive test results that arrived on Tuesday.
In a bid to curb the potential spread of the virus within their squad, which could throw their Euro campaign off the rails, the teams have initiated strict protocols. While Netherlands opted to drop Cillessen from their squad, Scotland are hoping Fleck can recover soon and join his teammates, who had all tested negative, later in the group stages.
Meanwhile, the entire Spain squad went into self-isolation after the test results of Busquets and Llorente came out to be positive. Sweden left Kulusevski behind in Stockholm and have now asked Svanberg to go into isolation after testing positive in the test conducted subsequently at their training camp in Gothenburg.
As the teams continue to grapple the threat of the virus, there is a slight amount of ambiguity regarding their involvement at the Euros.
According to the protocols in place by UEFA, any team that has to deal with an outbreak of the virus within their squad can only go ahead with the scheduled matches if they have a minimum of 13 players, including at least one goalkeeper.
If the teams are unable to field 13 players, UEFA also reserve the right to reschedule the fixture to a neutral country.
However, if there are hindrances to rescheduling, the UEFA Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body will take a final call on whether the team responsible should be deemed to have forfeited (0-3 loss) or should the outcome be decided by drawing of lots (i.e. win 1-0, loss 0-1 or draw 0-0).
As things stand, all the aforementioned players are set to miss the opening games of their respective teams at Euro 2020 and will be hoping to recover in time for the rest of the outings.
Additionally, the affected teams could also set up standby options in a parallel bubble to replace the unavailable players if required.