FA awaiting clarification as travel ban threatens England v Iceland showdown

By Phil Blanche, PA
·4-min read

The Football Association is waiting to see if England’s Nations League game with Iceland can go ahead despite the UK Government’s travel ban on anyone entering the country from Denmark.

The Wembley clash on November 18 has been put at risk following the Government’s new ban on arrivals from Denmark, which includes all elite sportspeople who had previously been exempt from restrictions.

Iceland play Denmark in Copenhagen on November 15 ahead of meeting Gareth Southgate’s side and seem set to fall victim to the updated rules.

England v Wales – International Friendly – Wembley Stadium
England manager Gareth Southgate must wait to see if his side’s final Nations League game against Iceland can go ahead (Glyn Kirk/PA)

The PA news agency understands the FA is awaiting clarification from the government to see if the new regulations will impact on England’s final Nations League fixture.

UK residents can return from Denmark but must isolate along with all members of their household for 14 days. The rule could have serious implications for Premier League clubs ahead of the international break.

Denmark head coach Kasper Hjulmand has called up replacements for a number of England-based stars.

The Danish Football Association (DBU) says Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel, Everton’s Jonas Lossl, Chelsea centre-back Andreas Christensen, Southampton defender Jannik Vestergaard, Tottenham midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Brentford duo Henrik Dalsgaard and Mathias Jensen are currently not expected to feature for Denmark in Wednesday’s friendly with Sweden.

Leicester City goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel is among those who may be ruled out
Leicester City goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel is among those who may be ruled out (Ian Walton/PA)

However, Schmeichel said he is hopeful of being able to play and criticised the decision as “political”.

“I mean it is obviously politics, I don’t think it has a lot to do with science,” Schmeichel told Sky Sports.

“The politics of it is the Government has made a decision for now. I hope they come to their senses and see we are very protected and in a bubble.

“We get tested all the time and I hope to be able to participate in at least one, if not two, of the games.”

The friendly against Denmark means Swedish players could therefore also be affected by the new UK government restrictions.

Manchester United defender Victor Lindelof, Newcastle full-back Emile Krafth and Everton goalkeeper Robin Olsen are in the Sweden squad for the Brondby friendly.

“The DBU’s management has in the last few days been in dialogue with both UEFA, the English Football Association, English authorities and others,” the DBU statement read.

“As DBU has not received the necessary answers from the English Football Association, national coach Kasper Hjulmand has been forced to select a number of extra players for the test match against Sweden on Wednesday, if the English authorities do not have time to change the rules in the next few days.”

Victor Lindelof could be ruled out due to Sweden's friendly with Denmark
Victor Lindelof could be ruled out due to Sweden’s friendly with Denmark (Clive Brunskill/PA)

The 14-day self-isolation rule would see them miss crucial Premier League games on their return, but FIFA rules issued at the start of the pandemic allows club to withdraw players from international duty if there is a risk of coronavirus infection.

Elite competitors had been exempt from any quarantine controls because they were working in a secure environment.

But the new Denmark guidelines, which came into force on Saturday morning, prevent that as the Department of Transport said: “Unlike other travel to the UK, there will be no exemptions to this quarantine policy.”

UK transport secretary Grant Shapps wrote on Twitter: “From 4am on November 7, British nationals or residents who are returning to the UK directly or indirectly from Denmark will need to self-isolate with other members of their household until two weeks have passed since they were last in Denmark.

“The @ukhomeoffice is also announcing that from 0400, Saturday November 7, visitors arriving into the UK from Denmark will not be permitted entry into the UK.

“This means all non-British national or resident travellers who have been in or transited through Denmark in the last 14 days will be denied entry by Border Force upon arrival.

“This decision to act quickly follows on from health authorities in Denmark reporting widespread outbreaks of coronavirus in mink farms. Keeping the UK public safe remains our top priority.”