Czech Republic chief details desperate search for new players

Czech Republic chief Martin Malik has offered an explanation for why the nation’s FA wanted their game against Scotland binned.

SFA chief Ian Maxwell was left stunned after discovering on Twitter that the Czechs planned to postpone Monday’s Nations League encounter in Olomouc following another positive Covid-19 test within their camp.

Maxwell was bemused by the decision to announce it on Twitter without telling their Scottish counterparts or UEFA first.

However, Malik has explained they genuinely believed they could not play the match and revealed the amount of work that’s gone into getting the game to go ahead with a different squad and coaches.

He said: “I admit that on Friday night I couldn’t see any way the game against Scotland could be played and that’s why we released the statement.

“Once UEFA started to become involved, we worked together to come up with solutions to many problems. It also became clear Monday was the only available date to play this game.

“If the game didn’t take place, we would obviously have forfeited the match and probably suffered economic sanctions too.

“The entire squad and staff from Friday are in quarantine and we had to work fast to get new players and coaches. Thankfully, UEFA accommodated us by extending the deadline for submitting our list to Saturday at midnight.

“We will now go to the next procedures and obviously testing is crucial.

“In Slovakia, we were completely isolated. Even the bus drivers were tested and we didn’t meet any of the hotel staff.

“I understand the players from the original squad are angry about what happened. Everything was extremely turbulent, important matters had to be done remotely and it was chaotic. We received different information at different times.

“We had to explain to the squad that we had no alternative but to disband them and send them home.”

And Malik admits he’s gutted their good start to the group – after a 3-1 win in Bratislava against rivals Slovakia – could now be wasted by having to play a shadow side against the Scots.

He said: “The amazing thing was despite this chaos that was surrounding them, the match the team played in Bratislava was amazing. It’s a great pity we cannot use these players against Scotland.

“But we will just have to get on with it and play the game.”

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