England U19s vs Scotland U19s abandoned in first half after manager tests positive for coronavirus

Lawrence Ostlere
·2-min read
Billy Stark, the Scotland Under-19s manager (Getty Images)
Billy Stark, the Scotland Under-19s manager (Getty Images)

A friendly match between England Under-19s and Scotland Under-19s was abandoned during the first half on Thursday after it was revealed that Scotland manager Billy Stark had tested positive for Covid-19.

England were 3-1 up in the game, which kicked off at 2pm at the English Football Association’s St George’s Park training complex near Burton Upon Trent, when it was called to a halt.

Scotland had undertaken a round of testing on Sunday in advance of the game and all players and staff had come back negative, including Stark. However when three players joined up with the squad on Wednesday, further testing was carried out ahead of a second match this weekend, also against England, and Stark produced a positive test.

Scottish officials quickly alerted the England camp and the game was abandoned. Once the match was called off, players and staff were kept from entering any buildings on site.

The England U19s squad includes Liverpool midfielder Harvey Elliot, Manchester United defender Teden Mengi and Wolves’ full-back Luke Matheson.

In a statement, the Scottish FA said: “The under-19s squad and backroom team all delivered negative COVID-19 tests on Sunday to enable them to play in today’s match against England.

"Three players based in England joined-up with the squad yesterday – and they and the rest of the squad were tested again with a view to Sunday’s second match. The three players had been in isolation and had no contact with anyone else. None the less, despite testing negative during Sunday’s test, the head coach, Billy Stark, returned a positive test for COVID-19 this afternoon.

"The result of the second test was immediately relayed to the under-19 team manager and the game was abandoned immediately, in line with established COVID-19 protocol.

"Billy will now travel home in isolation and will self-isolate for 10 days. The playing group and the rest of the backroom team will undertake precautionary self-isolation for 14 days, whilst the Scottish Government undertakes a formal risk assessment to assess who Stark was in close contact with during the camp. Scotland Under-19s game against England on Sunday has now been postponed along with the scheduled Under-17s match at St. George’s Park on Saturday.

"We apologise to The FA for any inconvenience caused and reiterate our commitment to the health and safety of all our international players and staff."