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A 14 day Coronavirus ban on sporting events could see key Martin Dubravaka match postponed

4 weeks ago
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The Coronavirus message/update on Monday from the government for Newcastle United and the rest of the Premier League, was business as usual.

Until they decide otherwise…

So for the moment, no match cancellations in the Premier League or games behind closed doors, as is happening in some other countries.

On Tuesday afternoon, Newcastle United have released an official statement detailing what they are doing to try and combat the Coronavirus problem, as well as advice for fans coming to the Sheffield United match and subsequent games.

The next international break is now less than two weeks away and Martin Dubravka has now found out that his upcoming key match(es) is/are under threat.

To bring it up to the final total of 24, the 2020 European Championships finals play-offs have four groups that will produce four winners/qualifiers after eight one-legged semi-finals on 26 March 2020 and four finals on 31 March 2020.

These are the confirmed fixtures:

Group A

Winners of Bulgaria v Hungary to host the winners of Iceland v Romania

Group B

Winners of Bosnia-Herzegovina v Northern Ireland to host the winners of Slovakia v Republic of Ireland.

Group C

Winners of Norway v Serbia to host the winners of Scotland v Israel.

Group D

Winners of Georgia v Belarus to host the winners of North Macedonia v Kosovo

However, BBC Sport have now reported (see below) that the Slovakian Prime Minister has announced an initial 14 day ban on all sporting events in Slovakia due to attempting to stop the spread of Coronavirus.

Martin Dubravaka and Slovakia are due to take on the Republic of Ireland on Thursday 26 March, with then potentially a final against Northern Ireland or Bosnia-Herzegovina to guarantee a place in this summer’s finals.

As it stands, no guarantee that these play-offs will take place, then even if they do, whether fans will be allowed in to watch them.

Obviously people’s health comes before anything else but a knock-on effect is that things such as the football calendar could be wrecked, especially when it comes to international/European matches.

Which is of course before you even get to the question of whether this summer’s European Championships will even go ahead.

BBC Sport report:

‘A 14-day ban on all sporting events in Slovakia because of coronavirus has put in doubt the Euro 2020 play-off with the Republic of Ireland on 26 March.

Slovak Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini revealed the two-week ban on sporting, cultural and other events organised by public authorities.

The EU member country has reported seven cases of the infection so far.

Earlier on Monday, the Slovak FA said the match in Bratislava could be played behind closed doors.

Amid concerns over coronavirus, the Slovak FA said they would respect any decision of the country’s health officials.

The Slovak FA said refunds would be given to fans if the game goes ahead behind closed doors.

Youth matches in Slovakia have already been suspended indefinitely.

Around 2,200 Republic fans have bought tickets for the game and it was anticipated additional supporters would also travel to Slovakia.

“The Slovak FA will fully respect the decision of the chief health officer of the Slovak Republic designated by him in connection with the presence of spectators at the match against Ireland,” said a Slovak FA statement.

The winners of the Slovakia v Republic game are scheduled to play either Bosnia-Herzegovina or Northern Ireland away five days later when a spot at Euro 2020 will be up for grabs.

The Slovak FA statement also said that the country’s senior clubs had been told to tell players to restrict interactions during goals celebrations and also not to shake hands as part of precautions.

The Football Association of Ireland said it was in “communication with the Slovakian FA and local authorities” regarding the 26 March game.

“As of today, Monday, the game is scheduled to go ahead as planned but talks will continue involving all parties,” said the FAI.’

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