Confusion arose over the decision to force England footballers Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell to isolate after Scotland player Billy Gilmour tested positive for COVID-19.
The England duo must isolate until Monday after being deemed “close contacts” of their Chelsea teammate Gilmour when the Three Lions played Scotland on Friday.
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Image: Chelsea’s Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell are out of England’s final group game as they are self-isolating
But questions were raised over why Mount and Chilwell were affected after the entire England squad tested negative for COVID-19 on Monday, while no other Scotland player has been ruled out of their final Euro 2020 group game on Tuesday evening as a result of Gilmour’s infection.
As Euro 2020 is played in multiple countries against the backdrop of the pandemic, strict rules are in force to try to ensure the tournament is not disrupted.
So what happens when players test positive for COVID, could matches be abandoned as a result, and what steps are being taken to avoid outbreaks? Sky News explains.
What were the concerns about Mount and Chilwell’s contact with Gilmour?
Mount, Chilwell and Gilmour were seen embracing at the end of England’s match with Scotland at Wembley on Friday evening.
However, it is understood the contact that caused most concern was a 25-minute conversation between the three players in the tunnel following the game.
Image: Billy Gilmour (L) and Mason Mount during the England v Scotland match on Friday
The Chelsea trio had not seen each other since returning to London after they won the Champions League final in Porto on 29 May.
Government guidance states that close contacts of COVID cases include people who had face-to-face conversations within one-metre, and anyone who was within two-metres for more than 15 minutes.
The FA said the decision for Chilwell and Mount to isolate was taken in consultation with Public Health England.
The two players are now isolating and training individually in private areas at England’s training base St George’s Park.
Image: Ben Chilwell is now having to self-isolate
How long do players with COVID have to isolate?
Players at Euro 2020 are tested regularly, and those who are positive must self-isolate for 10 days.
Any other players or staff deemed to have been in close contact with someone with COVID during the tournament also have to isolate for 10 days.
It means Gilmour will be unavailable for Scotland’s final group match against Croatia tonight. If they progress, he will also miss their last-16 tie, Sky Sports News understands.
Image: Billy Gilmour will miss Scotland’s final group game and last 16-tie if they progress
The Scottish FA and Public Health England are said to be satisfied that Gilmour had “no close contact issues” with any other member of the Scotland squad.
The isolation period for close contacts of COVID cases includes the date of their last contact and the next 10 full days, according to government guidance.
Mount and Chilwell, who came into contact with Gilmour on 18 June, must now isolate until Monday 28 June.
With England already through to the knockout stages of the tournament, it means Mount and Chilwell could miss their last-16 tie, with the round being played on 26, 27, 28 and 29 June.
Could matches be abandoned due to a COVID outbreak in a squad?
Euro 2020 squads were expanded from 23 players to 26 to account for the chance that some teams could be hit by COVID outbreaks.
If multiple players have to isolate, matches will still go ahead providing the team can name 13 players in their squad – a minimum of 12 outfield players plus one goalkeeper.
If a team cannot named 13 players in their squad, the game can be postponed by up to 48 hours.
If the affected team still cannot meet the minimum requirements for a matchday squad, they will forfeit the game and suffer an automatic 3-0 defeat.
Image: If a team cannot field 13 players in their squad, the match can be postponed. Pic: AP
Can players who contract COVID be replaced?
Outfield players cannot be changed but UEFA states that “goalkeepers can be replaced during the tournament in the event of physical incapacity, even if one or two goalkeepers in the squad are still available”.
Players that have been replaced cannot then return to the squad.
Can players see their families during the tournament?
UEFA has banned families visiting players at their training camps during Euro 2020.
England manager Gareth Southgate had hoped that players would be able to see family members at their St George’s Park training base, but UEFA’s strict COVID bubble rules forbid it.
“We’re not going to be able to let people in,” Southgate said before the tournament.
“There’s a clear edict from UEFA on what the bubbles need to look like to be as secure as we can make them, it’s never going to be 100% failsafe but we’ve got to comply with as much as we can.”
Source : Sky News