Travel issues cast doubt over Kenny’s Irish bow
Bulgaria clash in jeopardy as Quinn admits Government advice may override UEFA plans
NIALL QUINN has admitted that the fate of Ireland’s UEFA Nations League opener in Bulgaria is effectively out of the FAI’s hands.
The deputy CEO says that the Association have to prepare for all eventualities and follow the lead of the Government in making any decisions around the September 3 encounter which is due to be Stephen Kenny’s first game in charge.
Bulgaria is not on the green list and the rising number of cases in both countries is a cause for concern. UEFA want teams to travel in bubbles to games but have floated the idea of moving matches to neutral venues if necessary.
And a further complication for the FAI is that they have players scattered around England who would have to get permission to report to Dublin in the first place without complying with quarantine rules.
Issues around travel are also a concern for League of Ireland clubs ahead of next week’s European draw.
“UEFA will be the key in saying whether this game has to happen or not,” said Quinn yesterday,
“But if they are not listening to governments, then we may have a decision to make. I would have thought there would be common sense in the air there to keep everyone safe.
“Much as we want all of Stephen’s plans to come to fruition and to see all the games taking place the way they are scheduled right now, we just have to be vigilant and ready to alter if possible, when or if needed.
“That’s the times we are in. I’d love
to be more confident of games taking place, but we are just in this bind.
“We are not clarified in what can happen and clubs are asking the same question.
“We’d love to have all the answers, but I think NPHET (National Public Health
Emergency Team) will be most important in determining the answers there.”
Quinn did not rule out talk of a neutral venue contingency plan for Sofia.
Ireland are set to take on Finland in Dublin three days later, so the Government green light will be required for
various elements of the double-header.
“If Government is overriding that (UEFA decision) with advice that prevents us from doing what we as an association would like to do, then we have to listen to that,” he said. “We have no choice.”