Two English players will have to miss Tuesday’s European Championship game after being in close contact with a Scotland player who tested positive for Covid.
However, none of the Scottish players or staff are self-isolating. So what are the rules?
Why is close contact important?
Public Health England (PHE) advises you to self-isolate for 10 days if you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid.
- personal conversation within 1m
- stay within 1 m without personal contact for a minute or more
- stay longer than 15 minutes within a 2 m radius of someone (as a single contact or over a day in total)
How was the contact between the players?
The Scot Billy Gilmour tested positive for Covid-19 after his team’s 0-0 draw against England. Now he is isolating himself.
England’s Ben Chilwell and Mason Mount usually play alongside Gilmour at Chelsea. By the end of Friday’s game, they could be seen close together on the pitch – talking face to face and touching.
The contact should last about 20 minutes in the tunnel.
Image rightsGetty ImagesImage descriptionMason Mount and Ben Chilwell will miss England’s game against the Czech Republic
What did the Scottish team do after Gilmour tested positive?
The Scottish squad is based in the north-east of England – at Middlesbrough FC’s training camp on Teesside. That means it should follow the PHE rules.
No player isolates himself, which has led to questions about social distancing in the locker room and in the team manager.
It has also been suggested that pictures show manager Steve Clarke playing less than 1 meter from Gilmour.
Image rightsGetty ImagesImage descriptionBilly Gilmour with Scotland manager Steve Clarke during the England versus Scotland game
England coach Gareth Southgate said: “I don’t want to cause drama for Scotland, but if you are all in the locker room together, where does it go?”
BBC Match of the Day host Gary Lineker said: “[Chilwell and Mount] may have close contact with Billy Gilmour, but if they continue to test negative they can certainly play. Otherwise not every single Scottish player who hugged Gilmour after the game will be allowed to play. “
The Scottish Football Association (SFA) said it had consulted PHE and no close contacts were identified from Billy Gilmour.
However, PHE said it had “not had detailed discussions” with the SFA.
Are there any exceptions to the Covid guidelines for footballers?
People in elite sport – including soccer players – are expected to abide by the Covid rules like everyone else, PHE said.
However, it is said that contact during an outdoor soccer game “does not necessarily represent close contact based on criteria of duration of interaction among other factors”.
It has worked with the Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) on advice that includes:
- Maintain social distancing wherever possible – including between competing athletes, employees and other teams
- Where social distancing is not possible, including on the pitch and in team areas, a comprehensive risk and risk mitigation strategy must be in place
- Team members and employees with known or suspected Covid are not allowed in venues and should isolate themselves and follow government and PHE guidelines
Medical staff on each team must conduct risk assessments based on public guidelines.
You are also responsible for tracking down people who may have been exposed to Covid – and making decisions, often in partnership with PHE, who should self-isolate.
Image rightsGetty Images
What else has Scotland done?
Gilmour and his teammates were tested for PCR on Sunday – which led to his positive result.
Prof. Denis Kinane, who runs Covid testing for the SFA, said he was confident none of Billy Gilmour’s teammates were infected.
“We have more confidence with highly sensitive PCR that we probably caught the positive player at the beginning of the cycle and hopefully knocked them out before they can infect others.”
The 25 remaining players had lateral flow tests Tuesday and all tested negative, according to BBC Scotland sports news correspondent Chris McLaughlin.
What did the English team do?
The English squad and staff had additional lateral flow tests on Monday – in addition to the Uefa PCR tests on Sunday. All results were negative.
But following advice from PHE, the Football Association (FA) decided that Chilwell and Mount should self-isolate by Monday June 28.
The FA said they would “train individually in private areas” at the English base in Staffordshire. The rest of the squad will return there after the game against the Czech Republic at Wembley.
“We will continue to follow all Covid-19 protocols and the Uefa testing regime while staying in close contact with PHE,” the FA said.
Are there any special rules for Euro 2020?
Because of possible Covid cases, the Uefa, which runs the competition, increased the squad size for each country from 23 to 26 players. This is meant to give each side more options when players test positive or need to isolate themselves.
If a team needs to isolate before a game, that game can continue as long as the team has 13 available players.
If 13 players are unavailable, the game may be postponed or the team in charge will lose the game and count as lost 3-0.