Czech Republic vs Scotland to go ahead, UEFA confirms

The Czech FA previously said in a statement the game would not go ahead; watch Monday's match live on Sky Sports Main Event

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Sky Sports News' Luke Shanley explains the confusion over Scotland's Nations League match against the Czech Republic on Monday

Scotland's Nations League match against the Czech Republic on Monday will go ahead as scheduled, UEFA has said - with the Scottish FA admitting they were "surprised" by the Czech FA's statement that it was called off.

The Czech FA previously said that the game would not go ahead due to "the current situation with Covid-19" but Scotland were not directly told and, after liaising with UEFA, were advised to prepare for the match - which kicks off at 7.45pm on Monday on Sky Sports Main Event - as normal.

UEFA announced last week that games should go ahead if teams had at least 13 players available, regardless of the ongoing pandemic, and only in instances where the team cannot provide 13 players will a game be rescheduled.

Live UEFA Nations League

However, after Friday's round of Nations League matches - where Scotland drew 1-1 with Israel at Hampden Park while the Czechs defeated neighbours Slovakia 3-1 in Bratislava - the Czech FA claimed their squad would be heading their separate ways amid a coronavirus threat.

A statement on the FACR website read: "The national team will not play against Scotland on Monday due to representatives decision and the current situation with the Covid-19."

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Highlights of the match between Scotland and Israel

Scotland, who are due to travel to Olomouc on Sunday, had been awaiting confirmation from UEFA on whether the game would go ahead and were eventually told to prepare for Monday's game as normal.

"We were as surprised as UEFA to learn of the statement posted on the official FACR channels last night," Scottish FA chief executive Ian Maxwell said on Saturday.

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"Following extensive conversations late last night and this morning we have received categorical assurance that the match goes ahead.

"Furthermore, Czech Republic have confirmed they will be able to fulfil their obligations to the match and, more importantly, to the stringent COVID-19 testing regime that is sacrosanct to ensure the safety of our players and staff.

"While we empathise with all national associations during this period of global uncertainty, none the less we required and received absolute assurance that we will be entering a safe and secure environment having worked diligently in Scotland to maintain safety and adherence to UEFA's necessary COVID-19 protocols."

Scotland manager Steve Clarke during a Scotland training session at the Oriam, on September 03, 2020, in Edinburgh, Scotland 1:00
Scotland boss Steve Clarke says the team have had assurances from UEFA that their game against Czech Republich will go ahead

Scotland manager Steve Clarke says his squad are preparing as normal and he is confident his players will be in a secure environment once they arrive in the Czech Republic.

"This morning I got assurances quite early on that UEFA would want to make sure the game was on so we just trained as normal and prepared as normal," Clarke told Sky Sports.

"So apart from a bit of mental disturbance, it has not had too much affect.

"We know that we will go there in a secure bubble and there is no reason for us not to believe that when we get to the other side, it will not be the same in the Czech Republic.

"We will be in a bubble and we do not need to be in close contact with anybody, apart from the game obviously. The players will have to be in close contact."

Lyndon Dykes of Scotland in action during the UEFA Nations League group stage match between Scotland and Israel at Hampden Park National Stadium on September 04, 2020 in Glasgow, Scotland. 0:23
Lyndon Dykes talks about making his Scotland debut

With the game now set to go ahead, a spokesman for the Czechs said they will be fielding an entirely different side for the visit of Scotland from the one that beat Slovakia on Friday and will name their new squad on Sunday.

The Czech plans had been affected after West Ham's Tomas Soucek and Roma's Patrik Schick - on loan at RB Leipzig - were told to self-isolate after coming into contact with a backroom staff member who tested positive for the virus.

The Czech FA delayed their departure for Slovakia by 24 hours while the entire squad was retested and the players made the 200-mile journey by road after splitting up into small groups.

However, after their opening win, the FACR added in their statement: "There is great concern that the virus could spread further."

Czech FA bosses had earlier rejected accusations they did not strictly adhere to guidelines designed to curb the spread of the virus.

The Scottish FA, meanwhile, say they have received written assurances from UEFA that the Czech Republic will comply with Covid-19 testing protocols ahead of the match for all squad members and staff.

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