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Sport

Soccer: New Zealand cancel England friendly citing COVID-19 restrictions

(Reuters) - New Zealand have cancelled their friendly international against England at Wembley Stadium next month citing player unavailability and travel restrictions arising from the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The match was due to take place on Nov. 12.

"It is not an action taken lightly, this is a match we all wanted to play, however, as it stands ... a significant number of the team would be subject to quarantine or restrictions on their return home," NZ Football CEO Andrew Pragnell said here.

“This would heavily disrupt their domestic seasons and potentially jeopardise their professional careers.

“The shifting nature of travel restrictions and commercial flight availability under COVID means that we do not have certainty we could assemble a squad at Wembley on this day and defaulting on this fixture at the last minute is not an option.”

Pragnell said New Zealand would now look forward to the March 2021 international window as they begin their qualifying campaign for the FIFA World Cup in 2022.

Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; Editing by Robert Birsel

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