Champions League Match Forfeited After Positive Covid-19 Tests

Kosovar champions KF Drita have forfeited their Champions League preliminary round tie against Northern Irish club Linfield after two players tested positive for Covid-19, UEFA said on Wednesday.

Drita were due to play the tie in the Swiss lakeside town of Nyon on Tuesday but local health authorities ordered the entire squad to be quarantined following the tests.

Drita had previously beaten Andorran side Inter Club d'Escaldes, also in Nyon, on Friday. The Drita squad had tested negative prior to their arrival in Switzerland.

UEFA said its Appeal Committee had decided that as the fixture could not be played, Drita were "deemed to have lost the match 3-0." Linfield will next play away to Polish champions Legia Warsaw in the first qualifying round on Aug.18.

The incident has illustrated the difficulties European soccer's governing body UEFA faces as it attempts to play the Champions League qualifiers during the new coronavirus pandemic.

It has reduced matches in the first three qualifying rounds to one leg instead of two, but still faces huge challenges with next week's first qualifying round alone due to feature matches in over a dozen countries across Europe.

UEFA has said that home clubs must propose an alternative venue in a neutral country if travel restrictions make it impossible to play in the allotted venue.

Home clubs will forfeit matches if they fail to inform UEFA of restrictions, or if restrictions are imposed less than 48 hours before kick off.

(Reporting by Brian Homewood; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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