The Republic of Ireland Euro 2020 qualifier in Slovakia appears to be under serious threat of being played and if it is, then it is likely to be behind closed doors.
Government authorities in the country have suspended all sporting gatherings and schools and libraries in Bratislava have been closed for a period of two weeks.
If that notice is extended then it will encompass this day fortnight when the game is scheduled to take place.
Both Associations have said that they will abide by whatever governments decide on public health advice, so for the moment things are going ahead.
The FAI is ready to distribute 2,200 tickets to fans and family members that have booked to travel but with the shutters coming down on sport across the continent it has to be considered doubtful that the game would proceed.
UEFA have also said they will support whatever decisions are made at local level but would obviously be keen to get the full line up for Euro 2020 known as soon as possible.
If that meant playing behind closed doors then this would be an alternative though whether driving a crowd that would have been in the open air more into enclosed pubs and clubs to watch is something else for authorities to consider.
We will only know what was the right thing to do with the benefit of hindsight.
Similar conversations are taking place around the tie between Bosnia Herzegovina and Northern Ireland scheduled for the same night.
The Irish Football Association issued a statement yesterday following news that one of the confirmed cases of CoronaVirus in the North was associated with the sport.
“The Irish FA, in collaboration with NIFL, has set up a response group in light of the Coronavirus outbreak.
“Through the response group, we aim to offer a joint approach to ensure consistent and coordinated messaging to clubs, players, match officials, supporters, staff and other key stakeholders potentially affected by the escalation of the outbreak.”
“We are aware of the first case being reported in the Mid-Ulster League at the weekend and have made contact with the league and clubs involved.”
“Together with NIFL, we will co-ordinate the game’s response to the challenges posed by the coronavirus outbreak in a responsible and planned manner. We will obviously update clubs and fans on any developments.”
“The response group will be actively monitoring Government advice in case the situation changes and additional measures become necessary.”
“We would encourage leagues and clubs to continue to follow government advice as this is where the expertise lies.”
The Republic of Ireland Women’s team has travelled to Montenegro ahead of tomorrow’s Euro 2021 qualifier. That game is expected to go ahead and will be televised live tomorrow afternoon on RTÉ 2.
Elsewhere in sport, the Olympic Flame will be lit in Greece tomorrow in front of only a small handful of dignitaries after plans for a public lighting as has always been the case were cancelled.
St Gall’s GAA Club in Belfast has been closed as a precaution after a club member was also among those confirmed with the virus though there are no plans as yet to call off this weekend’s final round of matches in the Allianz Football League including the tie between Dublin and Meath at Croke Park.
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