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COVID-19 : FIFA recommends postponement of international matches scheduled for March, April

ANI | Updated: Mar 14, 2020 12:11 IST

Zurich [Switzerland], Mar 14 (ANI): In the backdrop of coronavirus pandemic, FIFA has recommended postponement of all the international matches scheduled for March and April.
FIFA said that the matches should remain postponed until they can take place in a 'safe and secure environment'.
In its statement, FIFA also granted clubs the option to prevent their players from joining up with their national teams as international travel restrictions have already been imposed by different public authorities.
"In light of the current situation concerning the Coronavirus, the Bureau of the FIFA Council has decided that the general football rules which normally oblige clubs to release players for national team matches will not apply for the up-coming international windows in March/April. The situation is rapidly evolving across the world and various international travel restrictions have already been imposed by different public authorities," FIFA said in a statement.
"...To avoid any unnecessary health risks and also situations of potential sporting unfairness, we, therefore, recommend that all international matches previously scheduled to take place in March and April should now be postponed until such time that they can take place in a safe and secure environment, both for players and for the general public," the statement added.

However, it added that the final decision on the issue rests with the respective competition organisers or relevant member association in case of friendlies.
Many international fixtures have been scheduled to take place in March and April, including the Euro 2020 qualification games. The qualifying matches for the FIFA World Cup in both Asia and South America have already been postponed following consultation between FIFA and the confederations concerned.
The statement further added that: "In consultation with the confederations and relevant stakeholders, FIFA will be studying the possibilities for re-scheduling any postponed matches and is confident that with goodwill and flexibility from all sides, appropriate solutions will be found to allow the matches to take place in due course and with minimal disruption."
Coronavirus, which originated in China's Wuhan city, has so far spread to more than 100 countries, infecting over 1,20,000 people.
World Health Organisation (WHO) on Wednesday declared the coronavirus outbreak a 'pandemic' and expressed deep concern. (ANI)