KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS: European federation UEFA has sought to firm up on the stance already evident in the club conpetitions: teams who fail to keep their players free of Covid-19 can be judged as losers if a match cannot thus take place.

That holds firm for the imminent opening rounds of the Nations League and will doubtless also apply to the concluding Euro 2020 qualifying playoffs later this autumn.

UEFA also ruled that matches could also be refereed by non-neutral officials if any of the original appointees test positive.

Two rounds of matches will be played between Thursday and next Tuesday, the first competitive internationals in Europe since the coronavirus outbreak.

All matches are scheduled for the original venues except Moldova v Kosovo which has been moved to Parma but this is because Moldova does not recognise Kosovo as an independent nation.

UEFA said that positive COVID-19 cases from tests conducted before matches could result in groups of players, officials or entire teams being placed into quarantine.

In the case of quarantined players, UEFA said the match would go ahead as long as the team still had 13 players available including at least one goalkeeper.

If a team did not have 13 players, UEFA said it would try to reschedule the match. However, if this was not possible, the disciplinary committee would decide on the outcome and the team judged to be responsible for the postponement would forfeit the game.

If neither or both teams were judged responsible, the result would be decided by the drawing of lots.

UEFA statement:

1) should a group of players of a team be placed into mandatory quarantine or self-isolation following a decision of a competent national/local authority, the match will go ahead as scheduled as long as the team has at least 13 players available (including at least one goalkeeper), irrespective of any other provision of the respective competition’s regulations (including the deadline for the submission of the list of players), provided that all players are eligible to represent the Under-21 or the relevant national team in accordance with the applicable FIFA regulations and have been tested negative as required by the UEFA Protocol;

2) if a national association is not in a position to field a team with the above-mentioned minimum number of players (i.e. 13 including at least one goalkeeper), the match will, if possible, be rescheduled at a date to be fixed by the UEFA administration, which shall also have the power to assign it to a venue which may be in a neutral country (within the territory of a UEFA member association) if deemed appropriate; in any event, the home team will remain responsible for the organisation of the match and all related costs;

3) if the match cannot be rescheduled, the UEFA Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body will take a decision on the matter. The national association that is responsible for the match not taking place or not being played in full will be declared to have forfeited the match by the UEFA Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body unless the latter comes to the conclusion that both or none of the teams is/are responsible for the match not taking place or not being played in full, meaning the match cannot be declared as forfeited. If the match cannot be declared as forfeited, the outcome of the match will be decided by drawing of lots (i.e. win 1-0, loss 0-1 or draw 0-0) carried out by the UEFA administration;

4) if any member of the appointed referee team for a match tests positive for Covid-19, UEFA may exceptionally appoint replacement match officials who may be of the same nationality as one of the national associations and/or may not be on the FIFA list.