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Sport

Nomads 'had to turn blind eye' to ill players, says manager

(Reuters) - Connah’s Quay Nomads manager Andy Morrison said he had to “turn a blind eye” to players who showed up unwell for Thursday’s Europa League game against Dinamo Tbilisi as he had already lost four members of the squad due to COVID-19.

Three players had to be withdrawn prior to the second round qualifier after testing positive for COVID-19 while a fourth showed symptoms and was excluded as a precaution.

“Three lads have turned up tonight and they’re not well,” Morrison told British media after the Welsh champions’ 1-0 defeat at the Racecourse Ground.

“And it’s like, ‘Lads I don’t want to hear it. I can’t hear it tonight that you’re ill ... Let’s just get through it’.

“I’ve been told that before the game and we’ve had to turn a blind eye to it and then you would have never noticed that anyone there tonight wasn’t feeling great.”

The Football Association of Wales said it was satisfied that the club followed local health and UEFA protocols for the match to go ahead but requested the club’s observations on Morrison’s comments.

“The FAW is satisfied that the comments contradict the confirmed compliance with the COVID-19 protocols,” it said in a statement.

“Whilst the club may decide to take internal actions, the FAW is currently investigating whether a breach of the guidelines has taken place and whether the comments constitute a breach of FAW Rules for bringing the association into disrepute.”

Nomads released a statement on Friday saying Morrison’s quotes had been ‘misconstrued’ to mean the club ignored COVID-19 regulations.

"What the manager was referring to was a number of players who may not have played had we had a fully fit squad," the club said here.

“...a number of players had suffered from isolated pre-match upset stomach and headaches likely down to nerves due to being thrust into the starting lineup of such a high profile fixture.”

Reporting by Arvind Sriram and Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford and Toby Davis

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