Clarke feels for Czech opponents after coronavirus scare

Three players have been left out of the Czech squad after a member of their backroom team tested positive for Covid-19.

Clarke feels for Czech opponents after coronavirus scare SNS

Scotland boss Steve Clarke has expressed empathy for the Czech Republic team after a coronavirus scare.

The countries play in a Nations League match on Monday, and Clarke detailed the precautions being taken before their trip abroad.

The national team play Israel at Hampden on Friday in the opening game of their campaign before flying to Prague to play the Czechs on Monday.

It was revealed on Wednesday that a member of the Czech backroom staff had tested positive for coronavirus, forcing the whole squad to be tested again.

Though all results came back as negative, three players have been removed from the squad that will play Slovakia this week. The remaining players will travel by road in small groups instead of by air as the Czechs look to minimise the risk.

Clarke acknowledged the difficulty of the situation and said he couldn’t help but pay attention even with a match to prepare for on Friday.

“I could go down the boring old route and say I am concentrating on the game tomorrow but in the current situation and the strange times that we’re in, we have to look a little bit beyond that,” he said.

“I’ve just been updated on the situation. The authorities will deal with it. It’s not really for us to comment on. You’ve got to have a little bit of empathy for the Czech Republic because it could happen to any international squad around the world at any time.

“So hopefully everyone who’s involved in it is fine and safe and comes out of it healthy and after the Israel game we’ll have a look and see what the situation is and how the authorities deal with it and then we’ll just get on with it from there.” 

Czech clubs have already expressed concern about their players and, if any matches are unable to be played because of coronavirus, UEFA would step in to either reschedule or order the nation to forfeit the game. With the fixture calendar for this season already tight, the latter is more likely.

Clarke detailed the steps that the Scotland squad are taking to minimise any risk during their camp.

He said. “Everybody was tested last week, then when they came into camp, and then UEFA tested everybody. So there have been three tests so far.

“Obviously within the bubble we still respect social distancing at the hotel we’re staying in.

“It’s a lovely hotel with good food but the dining area is quite small so we go in three separate groups and don’t eat together. We keep our distance as much as possible.

“We try and do as much talking and tactical stuff out in the fresh air.”

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