KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS: A significant example of the awkward route ahead for football’s international competitions – including the World Cup – is confronting European governing body UEFA.
Sunday’s Nations League fixture between Romania and Norway had to be called off on orders of the Norwegian government.
The health ministry insisted the team did not travel to Bucharest and should instead go into quarantine after a positive test for Galatasary right back Omar Elabdellaoui.
NFF president Terje Svendsen said: “The Norwegian Football Federation believes that we can travel within the regulations. The Norwegian government says no to this. We disagree with that, but of course we cannot defy the government.
“We are very disappointed that the authorities are forcing us to stay home. All the other 54 UEFA nations are playing international matches this week except Norway. This is very detrimental to the national team’s ambitions in the short and long term.”
Svendsen’s comments were echoed by team captains Stefan Johansen, Joshua King and Martin Odegaard.
In a statement, they said: “The whole group of players is deeply upset that the Norwegian authorities refuse to permit travel to the two decisive matches of the Nations League against Romania and Austria.
“We were in Gardermoen , the plane was loaded and was going to take off in an hour when the message arrived. We have complied with strict UEFA protocol at the meeting. These are coronavirus tests before traveling to Norway and, after our arrival, we have had another five tests. After knowing the case of infection, all the players and support staff tested negative twice.”
The words of both NFF and players were clearly aimed at seeking a mitigation of an automatic loss of points, on the basis that the NFF was acting under duress. This is unlikely to sway UEFA at a time when the international match calendar offers little or no room for postponement manoeuvres.
A UEFA statement said: “The matter will now be submitted to the UEFA Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body, for a decision to be taken in accordance with the special rules applicable to UEFA National Team competition matches, as approved by the UEFA Executive Committee on 29 August 2020.
“UEFA would like to reinforce the importance for all teams, players, officials and all those involved to fully respect the UEFA Return to Play Protocol and the applicable regulatory framework.
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