Football

Covid-19 wreaks havoc on international matches

Raft of positive tests amid problems securing release of players at some clubs

The ongoing international break is being ravaged by Covid-19 as a raft of players test positive and some clubs are making it difficult for players to link up with their national teams.

Yesterday, the Scottish trio of Stuart Armstrong, Kieran Tierney and Ryan Christie were ruled out of Scotland's Euro 2020 play-off semi-final against Israel.

Armstrong tested positive for Covid-19 while his two teammates have been required to self-isolate as they had close contact with him.

France's Leo Dubois has also been sent home after testing positive while Under-21 striker Odsonne Edouard has met the same fate.

The England trio of Tammy Abraham, Ben Chilwell and Jadon Sancho were left out of the squad to play Wales after breaching Covid-19 rules in Britain by attending a party with more than six people.

France's opponents Ukraine have named 45-year-old assistant coach Oleksandr Shovkovskiy in their squad after three of their goalkeepers tested positive for Covid-19.

Meanwhile, Cristiano Ronaldo and other top Juventus players could face legal action for rejoining their national teams despite coronavirus rules after two positive cases at the Italian champions, local health authorities in Turin said yesterday.

As well as the Portuguese star, several South Americans including Paulo Dybala, Juan Cuadrado, Danilo and Rodrigo Bentancur also left the Juventus team hotel without awaiting test results this week, according to Italian media reports.

"The club itself told us that some players had left the place of isolation and therefore we will notify the authorities, that is the prosecutor, of what happened," said Roberto Testi, a director of the health authority in the Piedmont region, as quoted by the Ansa news agency.

Ajax Amsterdam have refused to allow four of their African internationals to travel and join up with their national teams this week because they would have to quarantine on their return to Holland, the club confirmed yesterday.

Ghana's Mohammed Kudus, Moroccan pair Zakaria Labyad and Noussair Mazraoui, and Lassina Traore from Burkina Faso have not been released as Ajax have made use of a Fifa ruling that allows clubs to refuse to release their players this month if they face a period of quarantine or self-isolation on their return. - AFP, REUTERS

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