England have been forced to cancel their friendly against Germany after a member of the squad’s backroom team tested positive for Coronavirus.
The test was carried out on Friday and although no other positive tests occurred, the fact the team’s Covid bubble had been penetrated by the virus meant the Football Association instantly called their German counterparts to call the game off.
All of the players will now return to their clubs with the training camp at St George’s Park cancelled and will be asked to quarantine until they get their results back from another Covid test.
That will be of particular concern to the players of Manchester City and Everton, who face each other in the FA Cup Final at Wembley on Saturday.
Although the German game could have gone ahead in theory, the risks were too high to let it happen, particularly as anyone who subsequently tested positive after arriving in Germany on Monday would have to stay there for 14 days in quarantine, along with anyone who had come into contact with them.
The FA said in a statement: “England Women have taken the difficult decision today to cancel the squad’s away fixture against Germany, scheduled to take place on Tuesday 27 October.
“This follows the return of a positive Covid-19 test result for a member of the Lionesses’ backroom staff and our consequent concern for the safety and welfare of all players and staff which remains our top priority.
“The current Covid-19 protocol enforced by the German government requires that any individual who tests positive whilst in the country must self-isolate for 14 days. We cannot take the risk that this may happen to a player or member of England staff.
The FA’s chief executive Mark Bullingham said: “This has been a difficult but necessary decision. Nothing is more important than the safety, health and wellbeing of the players and colleagues under our care.
“We are very grateful to the DFB for their cooperation and understanding and look forward to the possibility of a future fixture in healthier and safer times.”
The decision was also backed by manager Phil Neville, who said whatever frustration there was at having to cancel the friendly was a price worth paying to ensure nobody else took unnecessary risks with the virus.
“While we all wanted to play Tuesday’s game, this was absolutely the right course of action,” Neville said. “I thank Germany’s staff for their understanding and our FA colleagues for their support.
"I know the fans were hoping to see us play again but I am sure they will understand the decision. We have still had a good week of training and are looking forward to getting together next month before our match against Norway in Sheffield.”