Tuesday, October 20, 2020

New Zealand pull out of England friendly due to coronavirus complications

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 14 Oct 2020

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New Zealand have withdrawn from next month’s friendly against England at Wembley due to complications caused by the coronavirus.

The All Whites were due to face Gareth Southgate’s side on November 12 but have pulled out because of issues over travel and player availability amid the pandemic.

New Zealand Football chief executive Andrew Pragnell said: “It is with deep regret that we have been forced to cancel our participation in the upcoming match against England at Wembley

“It is not an action taken lightly, this is a match we all wanted to play, however, as it stands of the last All Whites squad selected for the November 2019 tour, even excluding the New Zealand-based players, a significant number of the team would be subject to quarantine or restrictions on their return home. 

“This would heavily disrupt their domestic seasons and potentially jeopardise their professional careers.

“The shifting nature of travel restrictions and commercial flight availability under COVID means that we do not have certainty we could assemble a squad at Wembley on this day and defaulting on this fixture at the last minute is not an option. 

“Prior to COVID we had a full calendar of fixtures planned for the All Whites, and we have been proactive in seeking out matches for the team since the disruption, but unfortunately it just isn’t possible to make the new games we have scheduled this year happen.

“We are now looking forward to the March 2021 international window as we begin our qualifying campaign for the FIFA World Cup 2022.”

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