Albania vs England World Cup qualification goes according to plan after fear of police | Football News
England’s World Cup qualifiers in Albania on Sunday will take place after a police alert in the country threatened to call off the game in Tirana.
The Albanian Football Federation (FSHF) warned that the cancellation of the match “would have catastrophic consequences for the image of our country” after receiving a letter from the local police stating that the measures before, during and after could not be guarantees.
However, the Albanian state police have since assured that they will ensure law and order and the safety of the match following a meeting with the FSHF on Thursday.
“It was agreed to take measures for the normal development of this activity, in terms of order and safety, as well as all the obligations to escort and ensure the safety of the players of the friendly team,” said a police statement.
An English FA spokesperson said earlier that they had not been made aware of any ‘game-planning’ issues and were continuing their travel plans this weekend after the home game against San Marino.
“The two football associations are in daily contact with just a few days before the match and it is understood that no mention has been made of the security concerns,” said an English FA spokesperson. “Officials in London believe this is an internal dispute between the Albanian authorities.
“It would be unprecedented for an international match to be called off at this stage under these circumstances and this would likely result in a point deduction and a fine for Albania.”
Earlier this week, the FSHF called on the Albanian Prime Minister to leave fans vaccinated against the coronavirus in the Air Albania stadium this weekend.
The association asked Prime Minister Edi Rama for help in order to fill 30% of the seats – around 6,500 people – at the capital’s stadium.
Only around 50,000 medical staff, teachers and people over 80 have been vaccinated against the coronavirus so far in Albania, which has a population of 2.8 million.
What does the increase in coronavirus infections mean for Euro 2020 this summer?
Some 12 countries are expected to host matches between June 11 and July 11, but each of them experience varying levels of infection and cases, and varying progress in rolling out their vaccines.
It is an extremely uncertain time and football knows that it is insignificant compared to the tragic loss of life which still continues in Europe and around the world.
It is therefore possible that not all 12 host countries will be able to accommodate supporters in the stadiums.
Sky Sports News chief reporter Bryan Swanson examines the impact the continuing pandemic could have on the UEFA European Championship this summer.