England’s World Cup qualifier in Albania on March 28 will go ahead as planned after the FA secured an exemption from the UK government’s current COVID-19 travel restrictions.
All direct flights between the United Kingdom and Albania have been suspended since December 22, with those travelling to the country via an indirect route required to complete a period of self-isolation upon their return.This had thrown the qualifier into doubt but The Athletic understands that Gareth Southgate’s squad has been granted special dispensation.
Where will the game take place?
There has been uncertainty over where the match will take place in Albania.The Albanian FA had considered changing the venue for the match due to concerns over the pitch at the Air Albania Stadium in Tirana. The match is, however, expected to go ahead at the originally scheduled ground.
Who else do England face in March?
Along with Albania, England are also scheduled to play two further World Cup qualifiers during the March international break.They will host San Marino and Poland on March 25 and March 31 respectively. Both games are scheduled to take place at Wembley stadium.
What does this mean for the Premier League?
The FA’s success will undoubtedly have been noticed by Premier League clubs.The Athletic understands Premier League clubs have been in discussion with the government over whether their players will be able to travel abroad for next month’s international break. Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola raised concerns over the upcoming international break on Tuesday. In November, the international break fell across a fortnight where the Premier League recorded 24 positive COVID-19 tests, compared to eight the fortnight prior./The Athletic/