18th August 2020, 20:15
Tonight's Europa League match between Lincoln Red Imps and FC Prishtina was cancelled after seven members of the away team tested positive for Covid-19.
The decision was taken to cancel the match by a UEFA official at the Victoria Stadium this afternoon, after liaising directly with the Gibraltar authorities.
The Kosovo team arrived on the Rock yesterday on a chartered plane, and was immediately tested at the airport.
After training at the Victoria Stadium ahead yesterday, they returned to their hotel where they remained today. They will now return to Kosovo as soon as possible.
As part of the Covid-19 measures undertaken for UEFA’s Return to Play Protocol, the services of SYNLAB - a European medical diagnostic services provider – were engaged to test players for all UEFA competitions.
The protocol states that team players must be tested for the virus three days before a match, and then again one day before.
However, given that SYNLAB does not have a laboratory in Kosovo, GBC understands that the FC Prishtina players were tested by their own local contractor on Sunday.
In accordance with UEFA rules, certificates stating players are “negative” are required before players are allowed to take part in any competition.
The team will have arrived in Gibraltar yesterday with these certificates, but in line with UEFA protocol, each member was swabbed again here on the Rock.
These were taken by the University Lab, with a second swab for each player sent to SYNLAB in Spain for testing.
However, while all Lincoln FC players tested negative, seven FC Prishtina players tested positive. The news came as the away team waited for their results at their hotel ahead of their preliminary Europa League match.
They will now return to Kosovo following a carefully planned departure.
This is the second time in under a week a Kosovar side has had to forfeit a game moments before kick off.
This a developing story, and no doubt questions will need to be asked about how seven FC Prishtina players reportedly tested negative for Covid on Sunday, only to test positive two days later in Gibraltar. And, just who have they been in contact with whilst on the Rock.