Ukraine runs out of players as positive tests force Swiss game off

November 18 – The effect of Covid-19 on international football in Europe reached a new low on Tuesday when Ukraine’s Nations League game against Switzerland was called off just hours before kick-off after six Ukrainian players and one member of the coaching staff tested positive.

The entire Ukraine team was immediately placed in quarantine by local health authorities in Lucerne where the game had been scheduled to take place.

Eduard Sobol, Yevhen Makarenko and Dmytro Riznyk all tested positive on Monday and they were joined the following day by Ruslan Malinovskiy, Sergei Kryvtsov and Junior Moraes.

Based on UEFA’s return to play protocol, national teams should play if they have 13 eligible players on site, including one specialist goalkeeper, provided they are not self-isolating and have tested negative.

“The Ukrainian football association confirmed they have no other team, i.e. eligible players, able to play the match, either today or tomorrow,” UEFA explained.

Tuesday’s game 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. The matter will now be dealt with by UEFA’s Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body

The move marked the second time a Nations League fixture had been called off because of Covid-19 in the current international break after Norwegian authorities banned the national team from travelling to Romania.

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