Date published: Wednesday 11th November 2020 8:58
England manager Gareth Southgate admits next week’s home Nations League match against Iceland could be held in Germany rather than Wembley.
The national stadium hosts a friendly against the Republic of Ireland behind closed doors on Thursday. The Three Lions then head to Belgium for a crunch clash against the world’s top-ranked side on Sunday.
England complete their Nations League campaign – and 2020 fixtures – against Iceland next Wednesday, but it remains unclear whether the fixture can be hosted on home soil.
The Icelandic team would be travelling in following Sunday’s match in Denmark. They are currently a country subject to enhanced travel restrictions due to a new strain of Covid-19.
Those regulations set by the UK Government do not exempt sportspeople. UEFA has put Albania forward as a potential neutral venue, with the FA holding conversations with their German counterparts.
Asked if there were any updates on the situation, Southgate said: “We will know more tomorrow. Discussions with Government can only happen tomorrow.
“There is an alternative option if we can’t play in England and it looks as though taking the game to Germany would be the strongest possibility.
“We’ll know more after there have been discussions with Government and they have to be based on the medical situation.”
Meanwhile, Southgate has condemned former Football Association chairman Greg Clarke’s unacceptable comments and believes “there was no alternative but for him to go”.
The governing body was sent into a tailspin on Tuesday when the 63-year-old used the word “coloured”. Clarke also used a series of other offensive remarks when speaking to MPs on the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee.
Clarke resigned that evening and England manager Southgate says that was the only option for him to take.
“Well, I think, as he said himself, the terminology he used in a number of areas was not acceptable and doesn’t reflect the view of the FA,. And doesn’t reflect what we as a team stand for,” Southgate said.
Southgate: Clarke had no alternative
“I don’t think he had any alternative but to take the decision he did to resign.
“I have to caveat that a little bit and I think (with) Greg, what’s a shame for him in particular is that he’s done a lot of work behind the scenes to support the diversity code, to make a lot of inroads into relationships around Europe.
“When we had the incidents in Montenegro and Bulgaria, he was at the forefront of supporting the players and lobbying with UEFA for change.
“Unfortunately, of course, he’s going to be remembered for the comments he’s made.
“There is a balance to that because I don’t like to see individuals suffer as publicly as he has. But, I repeat, what he said wasn’t acceptable and there was no alternative but for him to go.”
The FA is hoping to appoint a new chairman by the end of March 2021.
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