Norway’s Nations League clash with Romania on Sunday has been called off after the country’s health authorities banned the team from travelling due to a positive coronavirus case.
The Norwegian Football Federation (NFF) confirmed on Friday that Galatasaray defender Omar Elabdellaoui had contracted COVID-19 and was isolating from the rest of the squad.
Norway had hoped to play this weekend’s match at the National Arena in Bucharest as planned, but they have now been prevented from doing so.
NFF president Terje Svendsen said in a statement on Saturday: “The Norwegian Football Federation believes that we can travel within the regulations.
“The Norwegian government says no to this. We disagree with that, but of course we cannot defy the government.”
It is the first Nations League match to be postponed as a result of coronavirus and Norway now face a possible 3-0 walkover defeat in a key game at both ends of Group B1.
“We are very disappointed that the authorities are forcing us to stay home,” Svendsen added. “All the other 54 UEFA nations are playing international matches this week except Norway.
“This is very detrimental to the national team’s ambitions in the short and long term.”
It is the second game Norway have had cancelled this week following the late decision to call off Wednesday’s home friendly with Israel after opposition striker Munas Dabbur tested positive for coronavirus.
Lars Lagerback’s side have won three successive Nations League games and are level on points with group leaders Austria, who they are scheduled to face in Vienna in the final round of fixtures next Wednesday.
A statement from UEFA added: “The matter will now be submitted to the UEFA Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body, for a decision to be taken in accordance with the special rules applicable to UEFA National Team competition matches, as approved by the UEFA Executive Committee on 29 August 2020.
“UEFA would like to reinforce the importance for all teams, players, officials and all those involved to fully respect the UEFA Return to Play Protocol and the applicable regulatory framework.”
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