England v Iceland: FA asks government for travel exemption for visitors

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Raheem Sterling scored a penalty as England beat Iceland 1-0 in Reykjavik in September

The Football Federation has asked the government to grant a travel exemption to Iceland for their Nations League game at Wembley Stadium on Wednesday.

Iceland face Denmark in Copenhagen on Sunday and are reportedly subject to a travel ban, barring them from entering the UK.

The restrictions relate to concerns about a new strain of coronavirus which has spread from mink to humans.

The FA says any deviation from the Icelandic team would be “subject to strict medical protocols.”

Germany is a candidate to host the match if the government does not grant Iceland entry.

Current government directionsexternal link says “there will be no exemptions from this quarantine policy”, unlike other trips to the UK.

Since June, elite athletes have been exempt from travel restrictions linked to coronaviruses.

An FA spokesperson said: “While in Denmark they will have been subjected to strict UEFA protocols in a sports bubble and will be PCR tested before traveling to England. The PCR test resumes the Cluster 5 [mutated] variant.

“We have agreed with the Icelandic team that they arrive by private charter at a private terminal and will only have access to their hotel and the stadium.

“We will also implement additional tests in addition to the multiple tests normally required for each participant and staff during the match. “

European football governing body’s coronavirus protocols state that international matches can be rescheduled on a date set by UEFA, or be played at a neutral venue if necessary.

BBC Sport has learned that rescheduling is not an option. UEFA, which will have the final decision to decide on any neutral venue, is expected to look into the matter.

The FA say it is in the “best interests” of England players and staff to avoid international travel.

“We are not asking for this support to help us have the home advantage in this competitive international game, although of course that would be helpful,” said the FA spokesperson.

“We are not asking for this support to avoid a huge cost of playing an England home game in Germany, although we cannot afford a financial penalty at this time. “

“The priority must be health, which is why we are asking for this support. “

England face the Republic of Ireland in a friendly on Thursday. They will then travel to Leuven for the penultimate Nations League group match on Sunday against Belgium ahead of the match against Iceland on November 18.

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