Richie McCormack
Richie McCormack

21.38 13 Mar 2020


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FIFA has asked that all international matches scheduled for March and April be postponed. 

Slovakia had already requested that their Euro 2020 playoff with the Republic of Ireland be postponed with travel restrictions imposed because of COVID-19.

Bosnia-Herzegovina had also made a request for their playoff semi final with Northern Ireland be called off.

UEFA will decide the fates of the playoffs and Euro 2020 at a special video-conference on Tuesday.

But world football’s governing body wants all international games held back until they “can take place in a safe and secure environment” for both players and supporters.

FIFA's statement recognises the ever-changing nature of the story, "The situation is rapidly evolving across the world and various international travel restrictions have already been imposed by different public authorities."

All Premier League games are suspended until April 4, but one senior club figure has told The Independent that the "idea we are going to be playing by then is ludicrous."

Their statement in full reads:

In light of the current situation concerning the Coronavirus, the Bureau of the FIFA Council has decided that the general football rules which normally oblige clubs to release players for national team matches will not apply for the up-coming international windows in March/April.

The situation is rapidly evolving across the world and various international travel restrictions have already been imposed by different public authorities.

FIFA understands that to hold the matches under current circumstances might not only present potential health risks to players (and to the general public) but would also, most likely, compromise the sporting integrity of such matches insofar as certain teams may be deprived of their best squads whilst others may not.

To avoid any unnecessary health risks and also situations of potential sporting unfairness, we therefore recommend that all international matches previously scheduled to take place in March and April should now be postponed until such time that they can take place in a safe and secure environment, both for players and for the general public. The final decision on this issue rests with the respective competition organisers or relevant member association in case of friendlies.

The qualifying matches for the FIFA World Cup in both Asia and South America have already been postponed following consultation between FIFA and the confederations concerned.

In consultation with the confederations and relevant stakeholders, FIFA will be studying the possibilities for re-scheduling any postponed matches and is confident that with goodwill and flexibility from all sides, appropriate solutions will be found to allow the matches to take place in due course and with minimal disruption.

We are working in close cooperation with relevant national and international public health authorities (most notably the World Health Organisation) and, taking into account the expert advice that we have received on the matter, we consider this measure and recommendation to be the most appropriate and responsible step to take under the current circumstances.


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Bosnia Herzegovina Coronavirus Covid-19 Euro 2020 FIFA Ireland Northern Ireland Republic Of Ireland Slovakia UEFA

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