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Ireland's Euro 2020 play-off still scheduled to go ahead amid coronavirus concerns

Doubts over the game continue to grow, however, as the Slovak government have announced a 14-day ban on all sporting events.

The Ireland team pictured prior to November's Euro 2020 qualifier against Denmark at the Aviva Stadium.
The Ireland team pictured prior to November's Euro 2020 qualifier against Denmark at the Aviva Stadium.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

Updated Mar 9th 2020, 7:25 PM

THE FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION of Ireland says that the upcoming Euro 2020 play-off between the Republic of Ireland and Slovakia is still scheduled to be played.

Fears over the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus have had a sizeable impact on the sporting calendar.

The postponement of the Six Nations rugby international between France and Ireland, which was due to be played in Paris this Saturday, was confirmed today.

In a statement issued this afternoon, the FAI said that although discussions are ongoing, Ireland’s bid to qualify for this summer’s European Championships is still due to resume in Bratislava on Thursday, 26 March.

The statement reads: “The Football Association of Ireland is in communication with the Slovakian FA and local authorities regarding the Uefa Euro 2020 play-off in Bratislava scheduled for 26 March and is also engaged in talks around the fixture with Uefa and the Irish Embassy in Slovakia.

“As of today, Monday, the game is scheduled to go ahead as planned but talks will continue involving all parties. The Slovakian FA are in constant communication with their government and health officials and will inform us immediately of any update.

“The FAI will continue to heed the advice of the Irish government and Uefa in relation to this game and will relay any news around the fixtures to supporters and staff as soon as it becomes available.”

The FAI are set to distribute 2200 tickets to Irish fans for the game. 

Subsequent to the release of this FAI statement, the Slovakian government announced a 14-day suspension of all cultural and sporting events in an effort to best contain the virus. That suspension is effective from tomorrow, 10 March, and is scheduled to end two days before the Irish game. 

Uefa’s stance is that they will respect the decision of the local government regarding the staging of games. 

Ireland must overcome Slovakia to advance to a play-off final against Bosnia & Herzegovina or Northern Ireland, the winners of which will qualify for Euro 2020.

With reporting by Gavin Cooney

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