Bosnia request to postpone Leeds United man's Euro 2020 playoff, stars facing quarantine - UEFA to meet this week

Bosnia-Herzegovina have asked for their Euro 2020 playoff semi-final against Northern Ireland to be called off due to the Coronavirus crisis.

By Graham Smyth
Sunday, 15th March 2020, 3:51 pm
Updated Sunday, 15th March 2020, 3:54 pm

The Football Association of Bosnia and Herzegovina wrote to UEFA this week to request a postponement of the game, which was due to hand Leeds United's versatile Northern Irish international Stuart Dallas his 45th cap, on March 26.

The Bosnian Minister of Security, Fahrudin Radoncic, has banned entry to the country for nationals coming from areas with the highest number of COVID-19 cases and a mandatory 14-day quarantine for nationals returning to the country would drastically impact the number of players they would have available for the game.

Edin Dzeko and a number of his international team-mates play football in Italy, which has been locked down due to the severity of the outbreak.

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It was likely that the game would have to be played behind closed doors, but with European club football now in lockdown, the game appears unlikely to be go ahead at all.

A statement for the game's authorities in Bosnia read: "Among other things, the letter [to UEFA] stated that the situation with the spread of coronavirus in our country tends to become more serious, and that the relevant institutions at the state level have already taken appropriate measures," read the FF BH statement.

"These measures include banning public gatherings, holding sporting events as well as banning entry into the country for citizens of Italy, Germany, France, Spain, Iran, Korea and China.

"The FF BH further informs UEFA that all BH nationals coming from these areas must be subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine as well as self-isolation if they come from other areas where COVID19 has occurred. This means that most of our players would not be able to play the play-off match, and the FF BH is asking that once again all the risks that would arise in the event of playing this match should be considered.

Stuart Dallas was in line for his 45th cap for Northern Ireland, against Bosnia later this month (Pic: Getty)

"The letter finally emphasizes that the Federation is in constant contact with the relevant state institutions, and that all activities of the FF BH are in accordance with the recommendations and decisions of these institutions."

UEFA are due to hold a meeting, including the 55 member associations, to discuss the action they will take in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak, with regard to club competitions and Euro 2020. A video conference will take place on Tuesday and UEFA are expected to comment afterwards.

Leeds United continue to train at Thorp Arch, where the club believe players will be safest in a controlled environment, with a cleaning team operating at all times.