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Slovakia call for Euros play-off with Ireland to be postponed

Bosnia have asked for their clash with Northern Ireland to be called off, too.

Slovakia manager Pavel Hapal and Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy.
Slovakia manager Pavel Hapal and Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy.
Image: Pascal Muller/INPHO

Updated Mar 12th 2020, 1:40 PM

SLOVAKIA HAVE WRITTEN to Uefa to request that the Euro 2020 play-off with Ireland on 26 March be postponed. 

The game has been set to go ahead behind closed doors, but the Slovak government today announced a raft of new measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus, which includes the shutting of international airports and the closing of all schools and non-essential shops. 

The Slovak FA confirmed that they have written to Uefa in response to these new measures by their government, and await a response from the governing body. 

Slovakia follow the precedent set by Bosnia earlier today, who have also asked for their play-off with Northern Ireland to be postponed. 

It was anticipated that the game would be played behind closed doors after Bosnia postponed the sale of tickets for the game, but the Bosnian FA have now asked for the game to be called off entirely. 

A statement on the Bosnian FA website says they are aware of the difficulties a postponement would call, and Uefa have yet to make a call on the game. 

“The FF BH administration is in constant contact with Uefa, and according to the latest information the play-off matches will not be postponed due to the impossibility of setting new dates in the competition calendar,” read the statement. 

“Accordingly, the FF BH expects further instructions from UEFA and will respect all recommendations, orders and instructions of the competent authorities regarding holding public events in Bosnia and Herzegovina.” 

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The winners of these games were scheduled to meet in the final on 31 March for a place at the European Championships. 

FAI’s Interim Deputy CEO Niall Quinn admitted last night there is doubt as to whether the game will happen. 

“We’ll take orders, whether Uefa come up with something different at that time or indeed our own government might be wary of us travelling”, Quinn said on Virgin Media last night.

“It’s a very difficult time and one we’re putting contingency plans in place for and hopefully we will be ready and have some form of defence.

“What we can say is that practically this [Slovakia fixture] looks very difficult at this time but we must plough ahead now and Mick [McCarthy] must have his mindset that his team are travelling.

“It could change, I wouldn’t like to bet one way or the other but this problem seems to be escalating and we have to do the right thing and be ready if we have to alter things significantly.”

With reporting by David Sneyd

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Gavin Cooney

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