The UEFA Champions League first qualifying round match between KÍ from Klaksvík and ŠK Slovan Bratislava from Bratislava, was due to be played on Wednesday, 19 August at the stadium in Klaksvík. However, due to unfortunate circumstances, the match was never played, but KÍ still advanced to the second round.
On 17 August, Slovakian media reported that a player who played for ŠK Slovan Bratislava in the match against Zlate Moravce two days prior, had tested positive for COVID-19, hence the entire Zlate Moravce team was quarantined and their next game postponed.
This was the same day that the ŠK Slovan Bratislava team arrived in the Faroe Islands via Vágar Airport, however, the infected player was not among them.
Positive COVID-19 test renders the team ineligible to play
Upon arrival, the delegation from Bratislava was, as is required of all travellers, tested for COVID-19, but none of the players tested positive. However, on 18 August it was announced that the team’s physical therapist had tested positive, and that was enough to quarantine the entire delegation.
Michael Boolsen, police chief and chairman of the Epidemics Commission, declared that the country’s regulations could not allow the team to play, and that the delegation was either to remain in quarantine at Hotel Brandan in Tórshavn where they were staying, or leave the country.
On Wednesday 19 August, the day the match was supposed to have been played, UEFA declared that ŠK Slovan Bratislava could send for another team to play against KÍ instead. According to UEFA, a team must have at least 13 players, including one goalkeeper, who do not have COVID-19. The Slovakian team already had 18 players in quarantine, and efforts were made to try to have some of them released from quarantine by letting them take a second COVID-19 test.
– They do everything in their power to ensure that the match cannot be played
Ivan Kmotrik Jr, the Slovakian club’s vice president criticized the Faroese authorities for meddling, and he accused them of doing everything in their power to ensure that the match could not be played and of trying to make it as difficult as possible for ŠK Slovan Bratislava.
Mikkjal Thomasen, manager of KÍ, responded:
I think it is sad, that they come here from Slovakia and try to play dirty. Both by trying to get out of following the rules and by pressuring the Faroese authorities and accusing them of trying to make the situation as difficult as possible. It is clear that they don’t respect the guidelines in the Faroe Islands, and it is disrespectful and has no place in a club like ŠK Slovan Bratislava.
Member of second team tests positive for COVID-19
On Thursday, August 20, the second delegation from Slovakia arrived at Vágar Airport. It was suspected that some members of the second team were supposed to have been in quarantine, as they had played alongside an infected team member the previous Saturday. That was reportedly the case with least five of them.
ŠK Slovan Bratislava’s vice president once again launched a verbal attack against KÍ, which he claimed did everything they could to avoid playing the match.
On Friday, which according to UEFA was the last chance to play the match, it was announced that one of the players from the second Slovakian delegation had tested positive for COVID-19 – twice. The Epidemics Commission therefore declared that they too were unable to play against KÍ and ordered them all to go into quarantine. On Friday evening, both Slovakian teams returned to Bratislava.
KÍ advances to the second round for the first time ever
It was then speculated that KÍ would be declared the winner, but the final confirmation from UEFA did not come until Monday, 24 August. Read the statement from UEFA here.
This means that for the first time ever, KÍ has advanced to the second Champions League qualifying round. On Tuesday, the team heads for Switzerland, where they’ll be facing Young Boys on Wednesday.
The Faroe Islands have been listed as a red zone by Switzerland due to the recent spike in COVID-19 cases in the country, but an exception has been made for the delegation from Klaksvík
The match between Young Boys and KÍ will be played in Bern on Wednesday, 26 August at 8.15 PM local time.