Related Topics

  • Coronavirus pandemic

image copyrightAlamy

Two England players missed Tuesday's Euro 2020 match, after having close contact with a Scotland player who tested positive for Covid.

However, none of the Scottish players or staff are self-isolating. So, what are the rules?

Why does close contact matter?

You are advised by Public Health England (PHE) to self-isolate for 10 days if you have been in close contact with someone who tests positive for Covid.

Close contact includes:

  • face-to-face conversation within 1m
  • being within 1m for one minute or longer without face-to-face contact
  • being within 2m of someone for more than 15 minutes (as a one-off contact, or in total over one day)

What was the contact between the players?

Scotland's Billy Gilmour tested positive for Covid-19 after his team's 0-0 draw against England. He is now self-isolating.

England's Ben Chilwell and Mason Mount normally play alongside Gilmour at Chelsea. At the end of Friday's game they were seen close to each other on the pitch – talking face-to-face and touching.

The contact is believed to have continued for about 20 minutes in the tunnel.

image copyrightGetty Imagesimage captionMason Mount and Ben Chilwell missed England's game against the Czech RepublicWhat did the Scotland team do after Gilmour's positive test?

The Scotland squad is based in north-east England – at Middlesbrough FC's training camp on Teesside. That means it should follow PHE rules.

No players are self-isolating, which has led to questions about what social distancing there is in the dressing room and on the team coach.

It has also been suggested that pictures appear to show manager Steve Clarke less than 1m from Gilmour at the match.

image copyrightGetty Imagesimage captionBilly Gilmour with Scotland Manager Steve Clarke at the England v Scotland match

England Manager Gareth Southgate said: "I don't want to cause a drama for Scotland, but if you're all in the dressing room together, where does everything stand?"

BBC Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker said: "[Chilwell and Mount] may have had close contact with Billy Gilmour, but if they continue to test negative surely they can play. Otherwise surely every single Scottish player, who all hugged Gilmour after the game, won't be allowed to play either."

The Scottish Football Association (SFA) said it had consulted PHE and no close contacts of Billy Gilmour had been identified.

However, PHE said it has had "no detailed discussions" with the SFA.

Are there any exemptions from Covid guidance for footballers?

People in elite sports – including footballers – are expected to follow Covid rules like everyone else, PHE said.

However, it said contact during a football match outdoors "does not necessarily constitute close contact based on the criteria around length of time of interaction among other factors".

It has worked with the Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) on guidance, which includes:

  • Maintaining social distancing wherever possible – including between competing athletes, staff and other teams
  • Where social distancing is not possible, including on the field and in team areas, a full risk and mitigation strategy must be in place
  • Team members and staff with known or suspected Covid are not allowed at venues and should isolate and follow government and PHE guidelines

Medical staff from each team are required to carry out risk assessments based on public guidance.

They are also in charge of contact-tracing people who might have been exposed to Covid – and deciding, often in collaboration with PHE, who should self-isolate.

image copyrightGetty ImagesWhat else did Scotland do?

Gilmour and his team-mates were PCR tested on Sunday – which produced his positive result.

Prof Denis Kinane, who carries out Covid testing for the SFA, said he was hopeful none of Billy Gilmour's team-mates had been infected.

"We have more confidence with high sensitivity PCR that we will have probably caught the positive player early in the cycle and hopefully taken them out before he's been able to infect anyone else."

The 25 remaining players had lateral flow tests on Tuesday, and all tested negative, according to BBC Scotland's Sports News Correspondent Chris McLaughlin.

What did the England team do?

The England squad and staff had extra lateral flow tests on Monday – in addition to Uefa PCR tests on Sunday. All results were negative.

But after advice from PHE, the Football Association (FA) decided Chilwell and Mount should self-isolate until Monday 28 June.

The FA said they would "train individually in private areas" at England's base in Staffordshire. The rest of the squad will return there after playing the Czech Republic at Wembley.

"We will continue to follow all Covid-19 protocols and the Uefa-testing regime, while remaining in close contact with PHE," said the FA.

Are there any special rules for Euro 2020?

Because of possible Covid cases, Uefa – which runs the competition – has increased the squad size for each country from 23 to 26 players. This is to give each side more options if players test positive or have to isolate.

If a team has to isolate ahead of a fixture, that match can go ahead as long as the team has 13 available players.

If 13 players are not available the match can be rescheduled, or the team responsible could forfeit the match and be considered to have lost 3-0.