UEFA seeks player exemptions from quarantine after travel

GENEVA (AP) — Ahead of national team games around Europe in two weeks, UEFA urged its member federations Wednesday to ask governments to exempt soccer players from quarantine after travel.

All 55 European national teams are scheduled to travel around the continent to begin Nations League qualifying on Sept. 3-8, which UEFA also said would continue its current policy of excluding fans from all games in its competitions.

“Players coming from foreign clubs might be at risk of quarantine measures upon their return to their country of residence,” UEFA said.

Days later, dozens of international players are set to play on the opening weekends of the Premier League and Spanish league.

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“Associations were encouraged to approach their governments to seek exemptions for players and team members,” the European soccer body said after hosting a conference call with soccer officials from the 55 member countries.

“The fact that players will anyway be regularly tested as part of the comprehensive UEFA Return to Play Protocol should ensure that such exemptions do not represent any risk for society.”

UEFA is the only one of FIFA’s six continental governing bodies not to postpone national team games in early September.

Neutral venue countries could step in if “current domestic conditions could put the staging of the match in jeopardy,” UEFA said.

UEFA-organized games in August were affected by visiting players being quarantined by local public authorities.

Kosovo champion Drita forfeited a preliminary round Champions League game in last week in Switzerland when local health officials intervened after two players tested positive for COVID-19.

Another team from Kosovo, FC Prishtina, faces returning with different players to Gibraltar to fulfil a Europa League game on Saturday after it was postponed on Tuesday. Eight players reportedly tested positive ahead of playing Lincoln Red Imps and UEFA delayed the game for four days.

On Wednesday, Slovakian club Slovan Bratislava faced its game in the Faeroe Islands against KI Klaksvik being postponed because of concerns about exposure to the viru

UEFA said it hopes to use the Super Cup game in Budapest on Sept. 24 as a pilot for returning fans to stadiums for its games. The game will pair the winners of the Champions League and Europa League.

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