1. ITV Report

Coronavirus hits NI and Republic’s Euro 2020 play-offs

Euro 2020 play-off games are among the sporting events being affected by the coronavirus spread. Credit: INPHO

Ticket sales have been suspended for Northern Ireland’s Euro 2020 play-off game against Bosnia, while the Republic of Ireland’s game against Slovakia will be played behind closed doors amid the coronavirus outbreak.

NI’s game is due to be played in Bosnia on 26 March, but the Bosnia and Herzegovina Football Federation has suspended ticket sales.

Meanwhile, the Slovak football association has confirmed that no spectators will be allowed into the game against the Republic of Ireland on the same date.

A statement on the SFZ’s official website said: “At a meeting of the SFZ executive committee held today at the SFZ headquarters in Bratislava, it was decided about the fate of the relegation match for the European Championship against Ireland.

“On the basis of measures taken by the state authorities in connection with the spread of coronavirus, but also communication with the European Football Union UEFA and the Irish side, the play-off of Slovakia-Ireland has been approved without spectators.”

The Football Association of Ireland confirmed the move in a statement, and said all supporters who have bought tickets for the match will be refunded.

The FAI said: “The Republic of Ireland’s UEFA EURO 2020 play-off against Slovakia on 26 March will be played behind closed doors on the instruction of the Slovakian government.

“The decision has just been relayed to the Football Association of Ireland by the Slovakian FA following a directive from their government.”

The Slovakian government has introduced a 14-day ban on all sporting events in a bid to curb the spread of Covid-19.

It is due to expire two days before the scheduled match, the winners of which will face either Bosnia and Herzegovina or Northern Ireland with a place at the finals up for grabs.

Sporting events and other large public gatherings around the world are being affected by the Covid-19 outbreak.