INTERNATIONAL football is in a Covid-19 crisis.
England’s upcoming Nations League clash with Iceland could now be moved to a neutral venue because of the latest restrictions.
After The Sun on Sunday exclusively revealed disruption fears over the Government’s new Covid travel ban, the Prem advised clubs to stop their stars reporting for international duty in Denmark to avoid 14-day quarantine periods.
But the situation worsened last night when Italian authorities ruled out Serie A stars joining up with their countries as they would also have to quarantine on their return.
That means Inter Milan’s Romelu Lukaku would miss Belgium’s forthcoming games, including Sunday’s NL tie with the Three Lions.
Scotland’s Euro 2020 play-off opponents Serbia have also had their plans thrown into chaos with SIX players ruled out.
England boss Gareth Southgate expects to learn this week whether the game with Iceland on Wednesday week can go ahead in light of the latest travel restrictions with Denmark.
The travel ban does not currently cater for elite sport, meaning the Iceland match at Wembley could be off — as the Scandinavians are due to play in Denmark three days earlier and could be blocked from arriving in the UK.
The FA hope the Government will make a U-turn and allow sports stars travelling in a bubble to enter England.
But in case there is no backing down, the FA are looking at potential venues outside the UK which could stage the Iceland clash.
The Danish FA have stated Prem stars including Leicester’s Kasper Schmeichel, Andreas Christiensen of Chelsea and Jannik Vestergaard of Southampton will not be involved in Wednesday’s friendly against Sweden.
Coach Kasper Hjulmand has already called up replacements as a result, as UK residents can return from Denmark but must isolate with all members of their household for 14 days.
Foxes keeper Schmeichel remains hopeful of playing for his country this month and criticised the decision as ‘political’.
Schmeichel said: “I mean it is obviously politics, I don’t think it has a lot to do with science.
“The politics of it is the Government has made a decision for now. I hope they come to their senses and see we are very protected and in a bubble.”
Spurs boss Jose Mourinho also has the same problem with Tottenham’s Danish midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg.
Mourinho said: “Pierre is in contact with his national team and wants to play for his national team so, of course, we want him back to play.
“So we have found a solution to protect us and protect the player. The situation is simple. Denmark’s first match is a friendly v Sweden and he does not go.
“The second game is the Nations League in Copenhagen against Iceland and he is suspended. So he is not going. The third game is in Belgium, so he stays with us and goes to Belgium for that game.”
Denmark’s Brondby friendly with Sweden also affects Manchester United defender Victor Lindelof, Newcastle full-back Emile Krafth and Everton goalkeeper Robin Olsen.
A Danish FA statement read: “The DBU’s management has in the last few days been in dialogue with both Uefa, the English FA, English authorities and others.
“As DBU has not received the necessary answers from the English FA, national coach Kasper Hjulmand has been forced to select a number of extra players for the match against Sweden, if the English authorities do not have time to change the rules in the next few days.”
Fifa rules issued at the start of the pandemic made it clear clubs could withdraw their players from international duty if there is a risk of coronavirus infection.
The Danish situation could also affect Liverpool, who are due to play away at Danish side FC Midtjylland on December 9 in the Champions League.
Meanwhile, Scotland boss Steve Clarke’s Serbia counterpart Ljubisa Tumbakovic has seen his side decimated for Thursday’s crunch tie.
Players from SIX Serie A clubs — Inter, Lazio, Roma, Fiorentina, Genoa and Sassuolo — are ruled out, including skipper Aleksandar Kolarov and star man Sergej Milinkovic-Savic.
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