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Slovakia and Hungary’s Euro 2020 play-offs could be played behind closed doors

Bratislava, Slovakia – Slovakia and Hungary may be forced to play their March 26 Euro 2020 play-offs behind closed doors if the coronavirus continues to spread. As it stands, Slovakia are due to face Ireland in Bratislava while Hungary will take on Bulgaria in Sofia.

There is however “no panic” over the possibility of Euro 2020 itself being affected by the viral outbreak, according UEFA Executive Committee member Alexey Sorokin.

UEFA’s high-level officials met yesterday in Amsterdam to discuss various items including the impact of coronavirus ahead of the draw for the Nations League. Playing matches behind closed doors is one of the measures being considered in the face of the virus spreading across Europe.

More than 2,000 Irish supporters have tickets for the game at Bratislava’s newly-renovated Tehelné pole stadium which has yet to host a game at total capacity. The Slovak government will have the final call on whether the game goes ahead as planned or behind closed doors.

Slovakia, like Hungary, is yet to register a case of the novel coronavirus.

Hungary and Slovakia both failed to qualify automatically for next summer’s tournament.

Having failed to qualify automatically for next summer’s tournament, both countries have to go through play-offs to book their ticket and join Poland and the Czech Republic in the Euro 2020 finals.

Poland and the Czech Republic will respectively face Spain and Sweden in Group E, and England and Croatia in Group D. On June 15, Poland could kick off its campain in Dublin against Slovakia, should they go through the play-offs. The Czech Republic will start off its competition in Glasgow against the play-off winner of Path C, meaning either Norway, Serbia, Scotland or Israel.

According to Alexey Sorokin, there is currently no impact on preparations for this summer’s European Championships, which will be held across 12 cities including Budapest and its 68,000-seat Puskás Aréna, inaugurated earlier this year, which will host three group games and one round of 16 game.

Headed by Kafkadesk's chief-editor Jules Eisenchteter, our Prague office gathers over half a dozen reporters, editors and contributors, as well as our social media team. It covers everything Czech and Slovak-related, and oversees operations from our other Central European desks in Krakow and Budapest.