ZAGREB, Croatia (AP) — Croatia and the Czech Republic on Monday canceled plans to stay in Scotland during the European Championship, citing UEFA concerns about local COVID-19 rules.
The Croatian delegation had planned to stay and train in St. Andrews, the east-coast town that’s the traditional home of golf, to prepare for two group-stage games in Glasgow and one in London.
Citing “a recommendation from UEFA to change the location of its team base camp, due to the potential impact of the Scottish COVID-19 regulations on the national team’s daily routines,” the federation said it will now stay at home in Croatia.
Officials were “unwilling to risk the possibility of positive PCR results causing a large part of the team and team staff to be issued mandatory self-isolation orders,” the federation said.
The Czech team had booked a camp at the national training center in Edinburgh but decided to stay in Prague and only fly to Britain for its matches.
The Czechs left for a training camp in northern Italy on Monday after all players and staff members tested negative. They play a warm up against Italy in Bologna on Friday.
UEFA has allowed teams to name 26-man squads instead of 23 to protect against disruption from infections before games.
Croatia begins its Group D program on June 13 against England at Wembley Stadium. The team then has games at Hampden Park — on June 18 against the Czech Republic and June 22 against host Scotland. The Czechs open their campaign against Scotland in Glasgow on June 14 and also play England at Wembley Stadium on June 22.
Croatia will now continue training at its pre-tournament base in Rovinj and fly in for games.
“This is the best outcome that we could reach in these strange times,” coach Zlatko Dalić said, “and we now have a unique opportunity to spend this tournament in our own country.”
The Scotland team, which qualified for the postponed tournament one year after its group rivals, is staying in the north-east of England at Middlesbrough’s training base.