Following the spike in coronavirus cases, the Slovakian government has imposed a ban on all sporting activity in the country, with reports that a state of emergency may be reintroduced this week. Despite the ban, Ireland’s clash withSlovakia will go ahead as planned. Stephen Kenny’s Ireland aredue to play their semi-final in Bratislava on October 8.
Earlier, Slovakia was removed from the Irish Government’s Green List, banning Irish citizens to travel in there. However, an exception is being made for a 45-strong travelling party from the FAI, including staff and players to make sure that the game will push through despite the setbacks caused by the on-going threats of the coronavirus pandemic.
“We are aware of this story and will discuss with our Slovakian counterparts and Uefa in the morning,” an FAI spokesman said. Earlier this week, Slovakia’s Prime Minister Igor Matovicconfirmed that all sporting and cultural events would be banned unless all participants can provide evidence of a negative test for Covid that is less than 12 hours old.
The announcement will put Slovakia’s domestic league to halt, but the prime minister assured that the play-off match will go ahead, subject to following health protocols made by their local authorities. “I assume that our footballers will be able to play their match against Ireland after they have tests,” Matovic said referring to the upcoming match.
Ireland are due to play behind closed doors with no fans or members of the Irish media will be allowed to attend the game.Last year, Ireland were knocked from first place to third in Euro 2020 qualifying group D as the 1992 winners of the tournament Denmark ended the group with 16 points and sealed their qualification next to group winners Switzerland. Ireland was left on the third spot.
The winners of the playoff semi-final in October 8 will go on to host either Northern Ireland or Bosnia and Herzegovina in a playoff final on November 12. The winners of the playoffs will complete the teams that will compete in the postponed Euro 2020 next year. All matches are reportedly going to be played behind closed doors.
The Euro 2020 will now take place from June 11 to July 11 in 2021 in 12 different cities across Europe: London (England), Munich (Germany), Rome (Italy), Baku (Azerbaijan), St. Petersburg (Russia), Bucharest (Romania), Amsterdam (The Netherlands), Dublin (Ireland), Bilbao (Spain), Budapest (Hungary), Glasgow (Scotland) and Copenhagen (Denmark).