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Dundalk's Champions League opponents affected as Slovenian league postponed over virus outbreak

The Lilywhites are supposed to face Celje in Hungary next week.

File photo of Dundak boss Vinny Perth.
File photo of Dundak boss Vinny Perth.
Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

DUNDALK’S CHAMPIONS LEAGUE opponents Celje have been affected by the decision of the Slovenian FA to postpone the start of the First League season after three players tested positive for coronavirus.

The league was due to begin tomorrow, but has now been postponed to 22 August. 

Dundalk are due to face Slovenian champions Celje in the first qualifying round of the Champions League next Wednesday, 19 August in Hungary. The game has been moved to a neutral venue as Slovenia is not on Ireland’s green list. It will take place over one leg, rather than two. 

Dundalk are awaiting clarification from Uefa tomorrow morning to discover if or how their tie will be affected by the decision of the Slovenian FA.

It will at the very least cost Celje a chance to sharpen preparation ahead of their clash with Dundalk, although they last played less than three weeks ago owing to the delayed conclusion of last season. 

“The NZS [Slovenian FA] also decided all matches will be played behind closed doors until further notice,” a statement published by the Slovenian association said, which added: “We are aware of the seriousness of the situation and we are prioritising the health and safety of players and others.”

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As part of preparations for the start of the First League matches, some 450 players and club officials had to undergo coronavirus tests on Monday that showed three players, all of them from Ljubljana’s Olimpija, had contracted the virus.

Slovenia — a country of two million people neighbouring Italy — has so far registered 2,272 cases of the novel coronavirus while 129 have died.

With reporting by © – AFP 2020 

About the author:

Gavin Cooney

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