Thursday 10 June 2021 9:12 am

Covid-19 at Euro 2020: What are the rules if players test positive for coronavirus during the tournament?

The Covid-19 pandemic may not be over yet but Euro 2020 is about to take place, a year later than planned, all across Europe.

Despite measures in place to minimise the risk of infection, it is likely that teams will suffer outbreaks during the tournament.

So what happens if a player tests positive for Covid-19 at Euro 2020? What if the majority of a squad gets the virus? Read on to find out exactly what that will mean.

What happens if a player gets Covid-19 at Euro 2020?

Any player who tests positive for Covid-19 must immediately isolate from the rest of the squad in order to contain the outbreak. 

Team-mates or staff deemed to have had close contact with the infected players must do the same.

Scotland, Spain and Sweden have all seen players forced to isolate after testing positive in the week before Euro 2020.

Can teams replace players who get Covid-19?

Managers can call up emergency replacements for any players who contract Covid-19 at Euro 2020 before their team’s first game.

This rule also applies to injured players. Goalkeepers are an exception and can be replaced once the tournament starts if they test positive for Covid-19.

Spain this week summoned several players to a parallel training bubble as a precaution after multiple positive tests in their main squad.

Once a player has been replaced, however, they cannot be recalled later in the tournament. 

Sweden, for example, have resisted calling up a replacement for forward Dejan Kulusevski despite his positive test in the hope that he will be fit to play later in Euro 2020.

What if teams suffer a mass Covid-19 outbreak?

Organisers have made rule changes for this European Championship to help teams cope with potential cases.

The maximum squad size has been raised from 23 to 26 players, while managers will be able to make five substitutions per match instead of three.

Covid-19 at Euro 2020: Sweden have not called up a replacement for Dejan Kulusevski despite his positive test on the eve of the tournament
Covid-19 at Euro 2020: Sweden have not called up a replacement for Dejan Kulusevski despite his positive test on the eve of the tournament (Getty Images)

So, even if England have half a dozen players isolating at once, they will have a big enough squad to name a starting XI and nine subs.

And even if that situation were to continue for several games, the additional substitutions ought to allow coaches to manage their players’ workload.

Can games be called off or postponed at Euro 2020?

Teams must fulfil their Euro fixtures as long as they have a minimum of 13 players available.

If more than half of their 26-man squad are isolating, then there are two possible outcomes.

A game may be postponed and rescheduled within 48 hours if it allows a team to reach the 13-man threshold.

If a team is so widely affected by Covid-19 at Euro 2020 that there is no immediate prospect of playing then they will forfeit the match and their opponents will be awarded a 3-0 win.

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