Football Federation Australia has called off a training camp in Europe and scrapped plans for matches against England and the United States in London next month due to the worsening Covid-19 crisis on the continent.

FFA had been close to confirming dates for the November friendlies but said the “ongoing and worsening Covid-19 landscape across Europe” had forced it to reconsider.

A European training camp for the Matildas – the first time new coach Tony Gustavsson would get a close up look at his players – has also been cancelled.

“Following the latest advice from medical professionals, FFA will not be proceeding with activities in Europe at this time,” the governing body said.

“FFA is committed to ensuring Australia’s national teams at all levels return to action as soon as possible, however ensuring the health and wellbeing of players and staff remains FFA’s foremost priority.”

The decision means the Socceroos will not play a competitive match in 2020, with the next international window in March 2021.

The FA said on Wednesday they would face Ireland in a friendly at Wembley on 12 November ahead of their last two Uefa Nations League group fixtures away to Belgium on 15 November and home to Iceland three days later.

New Zealand were to have met England at Wembley in November but pulled out citing player unavailability and travel restrictions arising from the pandemic.

The Matildas’ last competitive game was a 2-1 win over Vietnam in March – when Ante Milicic was coach – which saw them complete qualification for the Tokyo Olympics.

A total of 26,688 coronavirus cases were reported in Britain on Wednesday, the country’s highest daily total to date, and a further 191 deaths within 28 days of a positive test, according to government data.

source: theguardian.com

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