Covid-19 outbreak at AZ could cancel upcoming Europa League match
An outbreak of coronavirus infections at Dutch football club AZ has placed the team’s upcoming Europa League match against Napoli in jeopardy. The Alkmaar squad told broadcaster NOS that eight players from the team’s top List A selection tested positive for the viral infection.
Late last week, the team also announced that nine people attached to the team tested positive, including six players and three staffers. “A number of new coronavirus infections were found within the group of players at AZ on Tuesday,” the team said in a published statement. The extent of the infections was still being tallied.
The match in the Stadio San Paolo in Naples was scheduled to start at 6:55 p.m. According to UEFA rules for this season, a match is permitted to be played as long as a team has 13 available players including one goalkeeper, even if other members of the time are ordered into mandatory quarantine.
Before the new infections were revealed, Naples city council member Ciro Borriello had called for the Thursday match at Stadio San Paolo to be cancelled. Speaking on Radio Punto Nuovo he said AZ should not travel to Italy, which could endanger the public.
“We need responsible behavior: AZ should be quarantined and the game postponed,” he said. Borriello said it was on the Italian municipal health service ASL Napoli 1, to intervene. He asked that the health service be consistent in handling the situation, pointing out that infections among Napoli meant they were blocked from traveling to Juventus for a match.
Juventus was awarded a 3-0 victory as Napoli was a no-show for the Series A match. The result was expected to be appealed.
The Dutch team said on Tuesday it was working with national football association KNVB and UEFA, as well as their local branch of municipal health service GGD.