KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS: Linfield of Northern Ireland have become the first club to progress in European competition with a Covid-19 walkover.

Tuesday’Champions League preliminary round tie between Linfield and Kosovo’s KF Drita was called off at short notice after a second player from the Kosovar club tested positive for coronavirus.

The halt was enforced by the decision of the Swiss health authorities – in cooperation with UEFA – to put the entire Drita team into quarantine.

An unidentified player, who tested positive on Monday, had previously produced a negative test last Friday under the testing system put into place by UEFA in accordance with its Return to Play Protocol and approved by the local authorities in the Canton of Vaud.

On Friday, in a separate case, a Drita player had returned a positive result on the eve of the club’s tie against Andorra’s Inter Club d’Escaldes. He was then entered into quarantine.

UEFA’s control and disciplinary body ruled that the Kosovar club should be held responsible for the non-playing of the game and thus Linfield should proceed.

A statement declared the match “as forfeited by KF Drita, who is therefore deemed to have lost the match 3-0 in accordance with Annex I.2.1 to the Regulations of the UEFA Champions League (2020-21 season).”