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Kosovo team forfeits Champions League game over virus…

NYON, Switzerland – A club from Kosovo had to forfeit its Champions League qualifier Wednesday because players tested positive for COVID-19, the first time UEFA had to make such a ruling during the pandemic.

UEFA said KF Drita must forfeit its preliminary round game in the 2020-21 competition and awarded it as a 3-0 win for Northern Ireland´s champion Linfield.

The teams could not play a scheduled game Tuesday at an empty stadium next to UEFA´s headquarters after the Drita squad was put into quarantine by local public authorities.

Two players had tested positive for COVID-19 in Switzerland since last Thursday and exposed other players to infection.

UEFA´s updated Champions League rules and protocol for playing games safely hold teams responsible if they cannot fulfil qualifying fixtures.

An urgent ruling was given by the chairman of UEFA´s appeals committee, Pedro Tomás of Spain, because the next round is pending.

Linfield now advances to play Legia Warsaw in a single-leg game in Poland next Tuesday.

The Linfield-Drita game was just the third game scheduled in the 2020-21 competition. The qualifying rounds are overlapping with the final knockout stages of the 2019-20 edition which resumed Wednesday at the quarterfinals.

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