| 16.5°C Belfast

Northern Ireland's Euro play-offs set to go behind closed doors as UEFA to brief associations

Close

Windsor Park is not set to see Northern Ireland fans return until 2021.

Windsor Park is not set to see Northern Ireland fans return until 2021.

PA

Windsor Park is not set to see Northern Ireland fans return until 2021.

Northern Ireland fans are set to miss out on attending the Euro 2020 play-offs later this year.

Michael O'Neill's successor is due to take charge of the side in what is slated to be a packed schedule during the autumn but UEFA will this week tell national associations to expect any internationals played in 2020 to be held behind closed doors.

UEFA's National Team Competitions Committee met yesterday where they agreed to carry on with plans for a series of senior international matches, in the Nations League and the Euro 2020 play-offs, in September, October and November.

All of that is dependent upon the Stormont Executive's plan to ease lockdown being far enough down the line for competitive matches to be held in Northern Ireland.

But UEFA will today brief the 55 national associations on their hopes for the autumn games, admitting that triple-headers are likely to clear the backlog of fixtures. The continental governing body will instruct associations such as the IFA to prepare for having no crowds at games played this year.

Northern Ireland are due to take on Bosnia and Herzegovinia in the Euro 2020 play-off semi-finals, playing for the right to host either the Republic of Ireland or Slovakia in a winner-takes-all tie for a place at the finals.

Those games are currently slated to take place in October and November, with the Nations League campaign due to begin in September.

UEFA were also due to make a decision on new dates for the Under 21 Euro finals, due to be played in 2021 but certain to be pushed back to 2022, but they delayed a final call on that tournament until the May 27 meeting of UEFA's Executive Committee.

Belfast Telegraph