11 players named in squad after several members go into quarantine
The Malta U-21’s preparations for Tuesday’s UEFA Championship qualifier in Romanian has been severely affected by COVID-19 restrictions after a second player tested positive for the virus and eight members of Silvio Vella’s team were forced to pull out of the squad after being ordered to go into quarantine. As a result, 11 players were added to the squad.
In a statement, the Malta FA said: “The Malta FA Medical Team have been evaluating the fluid situation related to the national Under-21 squad and adopting all the necessary precautions and measures after a player tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total of positive cases during the current international week to two.
“In compliance with the UEFA Return to Play and local health protocols, the player has immediately gone into self-isolation. The Malta FA doctors have completed the contact tracing assessment and another eight members of the current Malta Under-21 squad have been placed into quarantine after being identified as high-risk contacts.
“Another player was withdrawn from the squad yesterday and entered a period of self-quarantine as, prior to the start of the October international window, he had been in close contact with a person who returned a positive COVID result. The latter case is not linked to the Malta Under-21 squad.”
The Malta FA said that apart from the player who tested positive yesterday, the rest of the squad and staff members returned negative results but several other players have been instructed to go into quarantine based on the contact tracing report.
“All the players and staff members of the Malta Under-21 delegation have been swabbed again today and the results are still pending,” the MFA added.
The COVID-19 issues are inevitably having an adverse effect on the Malta Under-21 squad’s preparations for Tuesday’s UEFA U-21 Championship qualifier away to Romania and the logistical arrangements, the governing body said.
“Given these circumstances, 11 new players have been added to the squad while the chartered flight has been rescheduled for tomorrow with the Malta FA keeping the difficult situation under constant review and maintaining direct contact with UEFA,” the statement added.
“The Malta FA is doing its utmost to honour the international commitments in this challenging situation.”