(Reuters) - Chinese Super League side Qingdao Huanghai have terminated the contract of coach Pablo Machin after one of his relatives tested positive for COVID-19, preventing him from travelling to China to take up the job, state news agency Xinhua reported.
The former Sevilla and Espanyol manager was appointed earlier this month ahead of the start of the CSL season.
“One of Machin’s relatives was infected with COVID-19 and he was one of the close contacts. Therefore, he can’t come to China and asked to terminate the contract,” a spokesman for the newly promoted club told Xinhua.
“To ensure the safety of the club and the CSL, we agreed. Although both sides had a strong willingness to cooperate, we had to make the decision during the pandemic.”
Machin, who was sacked by Espanyol in December, said on Twitter that he was not able to travel to China for “personal reasons” and there could not take charge of the club.
“Hopefully our paths will cross again in the future,” he tweeted.
Reports in Spanish media have linked Machin with the Deportivo Alaves job.
Qingdao were defeated 2-0 by Wuhan Zall in their opening game of the new season, which kicked off over the weekend.
Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford