Switzerland-Ukraine match cancelled amid COVID-19 cases

LUCERNE, SWITZERLAND (AP) — Ukraine’s Nations League game against Switzerland was cancelled hours before the scheduled kickoff yesterday after six of its players tested positive for COVID-19.

The Ukraine football federation said in a statement the game could not take place after health officials in the Swiss canton (state) of Lucerne put its entire squad into quarantine.

Six Ukraine players and one staff member tested positive for COVID-19 in Switzerland as part of mandatory pre-game screening before UEFA-organised games.

“The Ukrainian football association confirmed they have no other team, ie eligible players, able to play the match, either today or tomorrow,” UEFA said on Tuesday.

UEFA refers cancelled games to its disciplinary panel for a verdict. It can order Ukraine to forfeit the game as part of emergency competition rules during the coronavirus pandemic.

Those rules require national teams to play if they have 13 eligible players, including one specialist goalkeeper, on site who are not isolating in quarantine and have tested negative.

It is the second Nations League cancellation in the current international break due to public restrictions to control the pandemic. Norway was unable to send a team to fulfil a fixture in Romania.

The match yesterday was to have decided which of Switzerland or Ukraine is relegated to the Nations League second tier from a group that also includes Germany and Spain.

Ukrainian team officials had suggested two of the six players in question should have been given UEFA clearance to play. The federation said Sergei Kryvtsov and Junior Moraes had antibodies after previously testing positive for COVID-19 while on Champions League duty with Shakhtar Donetsk.

Switzerland national football team during a training session at the Swissporarena in Lucerne, Switzerland. PHOTO: AP