The European Championship football qualifier between Norway and Serbia will be played at Ullevål Stadium on October 8. Norwegian health authorities have granted exemptions from the COVID-19 regulations.
The exception applies to national matches for both men and women, as well as club matches, and this applies to matches both in Norway and abroad. This means it is given a green light for Norwegian clubs’ European Cup participation.
The decision was announced at a press conference attended by Minister of Culture Abid Raja (V) and Minister of Health Bent Høie (H). This took place outside of the Prime Minister’s office in Oslo.
– We opened for exceptions in the match against Austria, based on UEFA’s protocol and some additional requirements we had set. They managed to follow them, and now it is a pleasure to announce that we will make the necessary exceptions in the law this time too, Raja said.
– We have reviewed the additional requirements and come to the conclusion that this is prudent. *Dette er ikke oversatt ferdig.*
– Vi har gått gjennom kravene og tilleggskravene og kommet til at dette er smittevernfaglig forsvarlig. Folkehelseinstituttet anbefalte ikke unntaket, ut fra et likhetsprinsipp, men vi kom til at vi vil gi det for et begrenset antall kamper, sa Høie.
– We are also working with the other sports concerning other events planned in Norway this fall. We will come back to this later, but we have a good dialogue with the sports associations. For football, it was important to get clarification now, and the government has given that today.
The confirmation is received with relief by national team manager Lars Lagerbäck and the players. Even in front of empty stands, it is considered an advantage to play in a well-known home arena.
Had no exceptions been granted, the match would have been moved out of Norway. The Serbia showdown was originally scheduled for March 26 but was postponed due to the pandemic.
Exceptions are required from the COVID-19 regulations in connection with the entry rules for players based outside the Schengen area.
The protocol of the European Football Association (UEFA) is very strict in terms of limiting virus transmission. This was tested by the Norwegian Football Association (NFF) in the home game against Austria (1-2 loss) earlier in September.
If Norway beats Serbia, a “final” awaits against either Israel or Scotland. It is scheduled to be played in Oslo on November 12.
Norway has not participated in a men’s senior final stage since the European Championships in 2000.
The European Championship play-offs were postponed from last summer until next year. It will be played in the period June 11 to July 11, 2021, in twelve different cities around Europe.
If Norway qualifies, matches await against the Czech Republic and Croatia in Glasgow and against England in London.
© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today