OSLO: Norway’s national football team will play their first home World Cup qualifying game at a neutral venue in Spain next month because of travel restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Norwegian football federation said on Tuesday the game against Turkey on March 27 will be played in Malaga instead of Oslo. No fans will be allowed to attend.
Norway will begin their World Cup qualifying programme with a game at Gibraltar on March 24 before going to Spain to play Turkey three days later. The group also includes the Netherlands.
The change in venue is the first in European qualifying to be forced by travel and quarantine rules.
In Asia, only four World Cup qualifiers are going ahead next month involving only eight of the 40 teams still involved. The rest of the program has been postponed to June because of current health protocols.
FIFA has extended exemptions in mandatory release rules amid the pandemic so players worldwide can be refused permission by their clubs to join up with national teams.
Norwegian club Molde played a Europa League home game in Spain last week, hosting Hoffenheim in Villarreal. The Spanish football federation had to approve both changes.
Published in Dawn, February 24th, 2021