Saturday, 26 September 2020

New Zealand forced to pull out of next month's match against Belgium

 New Zealand were forced on Saturday to pull out of next month's scheduled match against Belgium in Brussels after Covid-19 restrictions meant they could not field a full squad.

"As it currently stands we aren't able to get enough of our team to the game and back to their respective countries without major disruptions to their domestic seasons," Football New Zealand chief executive Andrew Pragnell said.

New Zealand, ranked 119 and with players scattered across teams around the world, were scheduled to play top-ranked Belgium on October 8.

"We knew when agreeing this fixture that the impact of Covid-19 was fluid but with a number of our squad unable to travel due to Covid restrictions, or having to go through significant quarantine on their return home, it became unfeasible," Pragnell said.

"It would have taken them out of contention for their club sides and impacted on their long-term development as players and their careers."

A game against world No 4 England on November 13 at Wembley – a more favourable venue and date for New Zealand player availability – is still going ahead, at this stage, although Pragnall added they were continuing to monitor the situation.

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