Football: Austria team granted travel dispensation to play England in friendly

Austria's football team celebrate at the end of a match in Ernst Happel Stadium, Vienna, on Nov 16, 2019. PHOTO: REUTERS

VIENNA (REUTERS) - Austria's football team have been granted a special dispensation from their government to return to Vienna after next Wednesday's (June 2) friendly against England and avoid new restrictions on travel between the two countries.

The warm-up game, the first of two for both countries before they begin the European Championship next month, had been thrown into doubt after new travel restrictions were imposed by the Austrian government on Tuesday.

But the Austrian football association (OFB) has secured a waiver to be able to travel to Middlesbrough for the match and then return home.

"The friendly international match between the national team and England as part of the preparations for Euro 2020 can take place as planned," said a statement from the Austrian Football Association (OFB) on Thursday.

"The Austrian selection team have received special permission from the federal government for a landing after returning from England, without the imposition of quarantine either.

"The national team's trip to an international match as part of the preparations for the Euro was classified as in the national interest. The national team are, in any case, in a 'bubble' with no direct contact with outsiders and are, de facto, in hotel quarantine," OFB president Leo Windtner was quoted as saying.

"All team members are tested regularly. I am very happy that the conditions could be clarified with the politicians and authorities so quickly, and that the focus can now be on the tournament."

Since Tuesday, Austria has imposed stricter restrictions on people entering from Britain and, from next week, banned direct flights from Britain over fears of the spread of the new Indian variant of the coronavirus.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.