Ireland’s upcoming Euro 2020 playoff semi-final with Slovakia could be played behind closed doors after the Slovakian Football Association said they are ready to fully respect any potential decision set down by the country’s health officials.
The association released a statement today confirming that they will cooperate with all guidelines for coronavirus prevention for the game in Bratislava and will make a decision when necessary.
Last week, UEFA confirmed that they were in discussions with various governments and will be taking each of the eight playoff games on a case by case basis.
“We are in contact with the governments and are taking games on a case-by-case basis,” UEFA’s General Secretary Theodore Theodoridis said last week their annual congress in Amsterdam.
“It will be case-by-case and it will be a last-minute decision very close to the date of the matches.”
It is believed that around 2,200 Irish fans have bought tickets for the game in Bratislava while 4,500 applied meaning more than the allocated amount are expected to travel later this month.
The SFA have confirmed, however, that any supporter who bought tickets will be entitled to a full refund.
Slovakian football have also decided to cancel youth games while urging regional football associations to follow suit. At senior level, players have been advised not to shake hands, restrict interaction during celebrations, limit travel and take hygiene precautions.
They have also called upon organisers of all matches to respect the opinions of health officials in each region when deciding how to tackle the issue of coronavirus in football.
With Dublin being one of 12 cities set to host Euro 2020 later this year, UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin called for optimism as fears mount that the tournament may not go ahead.
“Let’s try to be optimistic and not think about dark scenarios,” pleaded Ceferin.
“We already have security and political instability concerns from hosting games in 12 countries and now one of those concerns is a virus. We are confident we can deal with it.”