England v Iceland Nations League game gets government go-ahead for Wembley

  • Government allows exemption to Covid-19 travel rules
  • Albania and Germany were suggested as alternative venues
Wembley will host next Wednesday's England game against Iceland.
Wembley will host next Wednesday’s England game against Iceland. Photograph: Nick Potts/PA
Wembley will host next Wednesday’s England game against Iceland. Photograph: Nick Potts/PA

Last modified on Thu 12 Nov 2020 23.37 EST

England will play Iceland at Wembley in the Nations League on Wednesday despite concerns over coronavirus quarantine.

The government has granted Iceland’s players an “extremely limited exemption” which will allow them to travel from Denmark, where they play this weekend, in contravention of the UK’s current travel restrictions.

Last week the UK government placed a ban on non-British nationals entering the country from Denmark following the discovery of a new strain of Covid-19 in Danish mink, a strain which has been transmitted to humans. The change in regulations led to speculation that England and Iceland would be forced to play their fixture in a third country, in accordance with Uefa’s Covid-19 regulations. Albania and Germany were suggested as alternative venues.

In a plea to the government on Thursday morning the FA argued strongly against such an outcome. It claimed that any travel to a third country would only heighten the possibility of transmitting the virus and that quarantine measures in the UK would be effective in limiting risk.

The FA also observed, however, that the cost of rearranging the fixture would be “huge” and that the governing body, already reeling from the postponement of Euro 2020 which would have seen a number of matches played at Wembley, could “ill afford the financial penalty” of rescheduling the matchin a third country.

It appears that the government agreed with this appraisal and granted Iceland players, and some Danish internationals, the right to enter the country.

In a statement shared with the BBC, the government said that “a limited exemption” would apply to a “small number” of Danish and Icelandic players.,“This temporary and extremely limited exemption will allow the relevant players and essential staff support to be exempt from the new requirements and will help reduce any disruption for England’s Nations League fixtures.”

An FA spokesperson said: “We are pleased to confirm that following discussions with the relevant authorities next Wednesday’s Nations League fixture against Iceland will go ahead at Wembley Stadium.”