Czech Republic will not face Scotland over coronavirus threat in squad
By Gavin McCafferty, PA
The Czech Republic have declared they will not play Scotland on Monday.
Scotland’s Nations League plans were thrown into disarray 90 minutes after their opening game ended in a 1-1 draw with Israel at Hampden.
Although the Czechs defeated neighbours Slovakia 3-1 in Bratislava at the same time, their football association soon announced the squad would now be heading their separate ways amid a coronavirus threat.
A statement on the FACR website read: “The national team will not play against Scotland on Monday due to representatives decision and the current situation with the Covid-19.”
Scotland were due to travel to Olomouc on Sunday.
The Czech plans had been affected after West Ham midfielder Tomas Soucek and RB Leipzig striker Patrik Schick were told to self-isolate after coming into contact with a backroom staff member who tested positive for the virus.
The Czech FA delayed their departure for Slovakia by 24 hours while the entire squad was re-tested and the players made the 200-mile journey by road after splitting up into small groups.
However, after their opening win, the FACR added in their statement: “There is great concern that the virus could spread further.”
Czech FA bosses had earlier rejected accusations they did not strictly adhere to guidelines designed to curb the spread of the virus.
Friday night’s declaration took the Scottish Football Association by surprise.
An SFA spokesperson said: “We are aware of reports that the Football Association of the Czech Republic have taken the decision not to play Monday’s game.
“We have not received any official notification from the Football Association of the Czech Republic to that effect but have contacted UEFA for confirmation on the status of the match.
“We will update further when we receive clarification.”
The shock announcement could lead to the Czech Republic forfeiting the points.
UEFA last week announced principles for scenarios where Covid-19 affected fixtures, stating that a game would go ahead as long as a team had at least 13 players available, including a goalkeeper.
If a national team does not have 13 players, the match will be rescheduled, and if it cannot then UEFA’s disciplinary body will take a decision.
The statement added: “The national association that is responsible for the match not taking place or not being played in full will be declared to have forfeited the match by the UEFA Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body unless the latter comes to the conclusion that both or none of the teams is/are responsible for the match not taking place or not being played in full, meaning the match cannot be declared as forfeited.
“If the match cannot be declared as forfeited, the outcome of the match will be decided by drawing of lots (i.e. win 1-0, loss 0-1 or draw 0-0) carried out by the UEFA administration.”