Covid chaos: Kosovo’s Prishtina to take loan players to fulfil Europa League match

August 31 – Kosovan club FC Prishtina have taken the unprecedented step of signing players on loan from rival teams for a Europa League fixture because a raft of their own squad tested positive for Covid-19.

Prishtina’s preliminary-round qualifier away to Lincoln Red Imps of Gibraltar, scheduled for last Tuesday, was postponed after eight players positive upon arrival in Gibraltar.

The match was heading for an automatic 3-0 win for Lincoln under UEFA rules but Prishtina managed to exploit a clause in the regulations covering unavailable players.

Article 1.2 of Annex I of UEFA regulations, titled “Special rules applicable to the qualifying phase and playoffs due to COVID-19”, allows a match to be rescheduled if fewer than 13 players are available. A club may then field players not registered with UEFA, provided those players are registered with their national association.

“FC Prishtina publicly thanks the teams of Feronikel, Llapi, Trepca 89, Flamurtar, Balkans, Drenica and Vushtrri who have urgently helped Prishtina,” the club said in a statement on Facebook, with the fixture now scheduled for Saturday.

“Prishtina has received a very positive reaction from the teams in our nation, because success in Europe helps everyone in football in Kosovo.”

Prishtina are the second team from Kosovo to have a match called off after FC Drita’s Champions League qualifier with Linfield of Northern Ireland was suspended due to two Drita players testing positive.

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