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Coronavirus: Euro play-off tie could come under review as Bosnia confirms first cases


Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy

Getty Images

Rory McIlroy

A meeting will take place today over Northern Ireland's upcoming Euro 2020 play-off in Bosnia following the country's first confirmed coronavirus cases.

The sides are due to meet in Zenica - the fourth largest city in Bosnia - on March 26 and, while approximately 500 tickets have officially been issued to away fans, hundreds more are expected to travel.

On Thursday night, Bosnian health minister Alen Seranic revealed that two people - a man who had been working in Italy and his son - have tested positive for Covid-19.

The father is understood to be in isolation in hospital in Banja Luka - over 100km from the Stadion Bilino Polje in Zenica.

Mr Seranic explained that more cases are expected with a large proportion of Bosnian nationals commuting to work across the Adriatic Sea in Italy, where over 3,000 cases have been confirmed.

The boy's school has been temporarily closed while his fellow pupils are tested for the virus.

Bosnian football a uthorities are due to meet today to discuss the options for the Euro 2020 play-off and domestic football in the country.

Last night there was no indication that the Northern Ireland game will be postponed or played behind closed doors but more is set to be known today.

Meanwhile, Ireland's Six Nations rugby matches against France are "set to go ahead as scheduled," tournament organisers said.

Ireland's games at home to Italy, which were due to be played this weekend, were postponed last week.

However, Ireland's men's, women's and under-20s contests in France on March 13, 14 and 15 will go ahead as planned.

England's Six Nations games against Italy on March 14 and 15 have, however, been postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak.

The men's, women's and under-20s contests will be played at "a later date", organisers said.

Italy is the worst-hit European country with over 3,000 cases.

Separately, Rory McIlroy said the coronavirus crisis will not prevent him making his Olympic debut this summer, providing the tournament as a whole gets the go-ahead.

McIlroy is content to follow the advice of the organisers and said that, as long as the Games are played, he will compete alongside Open champion Shane Lowry.

McIlroy explained: "If the or ganisers and the Olympic Committee believe it's safe enough that athletes can go and compete in the Games, then you have to take their word for it."

Belfast Telegraph