Saturday 11/28/20
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Norway health chief wants halt to international football over virus

Bjorn Guldvog has contacted UEFA and the Norwegian Football Federation (NFF) about the concerns.
Spain's Alvaro Morata speaks with Dani Olmo during a training session ahead of Tuesday's match against Germany. Photo: Daniel Gonzales Acuna/dpa.
Spain's Alvaro Morata speaks with Dani Olmo during a training session ahead of Tuesday's match against Germany. Photo: Daniel Gonzales Acuna/dpa.

International football matches in Europe should be halted due to the coronavirus situation, the head of the Norwegian Directorate of Health said.

Bjorn Guldvog said it was difficult to know if the protocol introduced by European ruling body UEFA was sufficient to protect players and staff, noting "we see that more and more teams get infections."

Guldvog has contacted UEFA and the Norwegian Football Federation (NFF) about the concerns, he said in an interview aired Monday evening by Norwegian public broadcaster NRK.

On Sunday, Norway cancelled their scheduled Nations League match in Romania after local health authorities would not allow the team to travel after player Omar Elabdellaoui tested positive for the Sars-CoV-2 virus.

Norway said on Monday it will field a reserve squad for Wednesday's Nations League game against Austria.

Amid coronavirus regulations and travel restrictions, the players for the Austria game were to assemble at a hotel at Oslo airport and be tested for the virus before flying to Vienna on Tuesday in a chartered plane.

High level of transmissions

Guldvog noted that Austria has a high level of transmissions.

"It is understandable that the health director raises questions about the national team where the players, in contrast to club football, are brought in from different countries," Nils Oyvind Fisketjonn of the Norwegian Football Federation said.

He said Norway was in compliance with UEFA guidelines and a negative test was necessary for any player to be allowed to fly to Austria.

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