FA to liaise with Albanian authorities on security ahead of England game

Albania’s Football Association is informed by the local police that it cannot guarantee security for the World Cup qualifying contest in Tirana.

England celebrates during the World Cup Qualifying contest against San Marino on Thursday.   -  AP

England’s FA said on Thursday it will continue to liaise with Albanian authorities ahead of the national team's World Cup qualifier in Tirana on Sunday after the host nation's FA was informed by police that it cannot guarantee security.

The Albanian Football Association (AFA) said in a statement to Albanian News Daily that it had received a letter saying the structures of the police directorate of Tirana “do not guarantee the taking of measures” before, during and after the game.

“We will continue to liaise with relevant authorities,” an FA spokesman said on Thursday.

The AFA had requested that a restricted number of fans who are vaccinated against COVID-19 be allowed to attend the Group I game but that was rejected by government, British media reported.

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The clash will take place at an empty Air Albania stadium but supporters could gather outside the venue with no coronavirus lockdown measures currently in place in the country. “Faced with the situation where the state authorities did not react after the request of the AFA for the release of spaces on the perimeter of the stadium, we request urgent response of these structures,” the AFA said.

“The cancellation of the Albania-England match... would have catastrophic consequences for the image of our country, the national team and in general for Albanian football.”

England defeated San Marino 5-0 in its Group I opener on Thursday. It will travel to Albania for the match on Sunday. It hosts Poland on March 31.