Positive FC Drita test forces UEFA to call off Linfield CL tie an hour before KO

August 12 – A Champions League preliminary round tie was called off just over an hour before kick-off after a second player from Kosovan side FC Drita tested positive for Covid-19.

As a result, scheduled opponents Linfield of Northern Ireland could become the first club to receive bye because of disruption caused by the pandemic.

The match had been scheduled to take place behind closed doors in Nyon, where UEFA is based, on Tuesday and Swiss authorities immediately isolated the entire Drita squad.

UEFA said the matter had now been referred to its control, ethics and disciplinary body, which is expected to remove Drita from the competition. If that happens  Linfield will get a first qualifying round tie with Legia Warsaw next week.

New Uefa guidelines states any club “whose national/local authorities have imposed restrictions preventing the match from taking place as scheduled will be held responsible and the match will be … forfeited by such club, which will be considered to have lost it 3-0”.

A statement from Linfield said: “The Linfield team was advised of the decision on boarding the coach to travel to the game and instead of travelling to play the game have instead travelled to the stadium for a training session.”

Bizarrely next season’s early stages have begun before the 2020-21 Champions League campaign has even finished with the quarterfinals onwards about to take place in Portugal.

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