Celtic have avoided a potential disaster today with Norway’s friendly match with Israel being called off.
Indeed, Kris Ajer and Mohamed Elyounoussi are involved with the Norwegian camp, whilst Hatem Elhamed and Nir Bitton are away with Israel. That’s four regular Celtic first-team stars who could’ve been involved in tonight’s game.
The decision came after Israel striker Munas Dabbur tested positive for Covid at the start of the week (VG)
The right outcome has arrived even if it was made at the last minute, but what’s worrying is that it wasn’t UEFA or FIFA who stepped in and had a word and made the decision. Instead, it was the Health Director of Norway who had to write a letter to the Norwegian FA encouraging them to postpone the event (NFF).
Scarily, the Norwegian FA’s Communications Manager, Gro Tvedt Anderssen, told VG that the game could’ve gone ahead according to UEFA protocol.
Yup, a friendly match which means nothing could’ve gone ahead despite the fact a player had tested positive. The authorities simply must take a good look at themselves here. It’s bad enough that international football is going ahead at all, but to be happy to press ahead with friendlies is borderline scandalous.
That they were happy to let Norway and Israel play despite the previous Covid scare is unacceptable. A lack of common sense was shown until the Norwegian Health Director stepped in and made his thoughts known.
There will still be a big fear from the Celtic support that their Israel stars in particular could become infected again. Had the game gone ahead, it could easily have spread into the Norwegian squad. Yet because UEFA’s protocols were being followed it was okay to go ahead? Mental.
Football is already being given special treatment, but allowing international friendlies to go ahead is a blatant abuse of that special treatment. Any football or close contact that’s unnecessary simply shouldn’t be happening at the moment. If it’s competitive, then you get more leeway. But friendlies? Come on.
I personally back the argument that everything to do with international football should be halted. It’s not an entertaining spectacle at the best of times, but to push ahead with international travel whilst so many countries are encouraging their citizens to stay at home is disgraceful.
At the very least, those in power have to show some sense and ban meaningless friendlies. That would be a start. Nobody wants or needs them.
And judging by the Celtic supporters’ reaction to the decision today, it’s clear many of them are at their wits end with international football too:
Excellent. Utter nonsense that such friendlies are happening right now.
— Paul B (@tictoon) November 11, 2020
End this nonsense now!!
— Thomas Conroy (@Iamthomasconroy) November 11, 2020
Wish they would just cancel the internationals nothing but chaos
— Stacey Devlin (@StaceyDevlinxxx) November 11, 2020
Good news is suppose https://t.co/2W2bDlTKwA
— Andy.Mc (@AMC__88) November 11, 2020
Oh, bloody hell – are Celtic particularly cursed over this? Or are other clubs losing players left, right and centre to this with every international break now too?
— David Frier (@frier_david) November 11, 2020
High time Celtic and other clubs pulled players from international football. No one should be travelling outwith the country of your club at this time. If it does continue then uefa have to allow domestic games to be cancelled if this continuously happens. https://t.co/J0pssFcxWN
— St.Anthony (@Stephen4_2) November 11, 2020
Absolute farcical the amount of International Friendlies due to be played during this Worldwide Global Pandemic.@FIFAcom @UEFA @BBCSportsound @SkySportsNews @btsportfootball @Eurosport pic.twitter.com/CyMLeDGUwb
— Celtic Curio (@Celticcurio) November 11, 2020
Why are these games being allowed q anyway? Absolute suicide during a pandemic. Players flying all over the world. Insane.
— Free Rogic. (@celticforever9) November 11, 2020
— Danny Boyle (@deejaypb) November 11, 2020