The Republic of Ireland's preparations for today's UEFA Nations League clash with Wales have been thrown into disarray after a positive Covid-19 test within the squad.
A total of five players - the positive case and four other players deemed close contacts - have been 'stood down' for the game, according to an official FAI statement.
In addition, the FAI statement also says that the staff member who had tested positive for the virus earlier in the week, which ruled both Adam Idah and Aaron Connolly out as they were deemed 'close contacts', may have received a 'false positive result'.
The FAI statement in full reads:
'Stephen Kenny’s Ireland squad has received one positive COVID-19 test result ahead of today’s Nations League game against Wales at the Aviva Stadium, after the latest round of UEFA testing
'A player – who cannot be named at this time - tested positive on Friday after a negative test on Monday but his case is not related in any way to that of the backroom team member who tested positive on Monday last.
'Talks with the HSE late last night identified four other players as close contacts of this positive case and they have been stood down from the matchday squad for today’s game against Wales.
'In a separate development, the FAI can now reveal that the staff member who tested positive for COVID-19 in Bratislava on Wednesday, may have received a ‘false positive’ result.
'Two further tests carried out on the individual on Saturday have confirmed no trace of COVID-19. The HSE and UEFA have been informed of this result. The FAI will now discuss the issue with UEFA.
'In light of these developments, the FAI wishes to make it clear that it complied with all UEFA and HSE COVID-19 guidelines concerning the availability of players and the well-being of staff around the Slovakia v Republic of Ireland fixture in Bratislava on Thursday night.
'The facts are:-
- Senior FAI staff first contacted the HSE and UEFA when the member of the backroom team returned the positive result from his COVID-19 test, undertaken in Bratislava on Wednesday morning
- This staff member returned a negative result in Ireland on Saturday, October 3
- He was not deemed a close contact of the previously confirmed positive case
- On the basis of this, the staff member was approved to travel to Slovakia by the FAI
- He subsequently returned a second negative result from a test conducted in Dublin on Tuesday
- As per UEFA matchday requirements, the staff member was tested again in Bratislava on Wednesday morning
- As soon as his positive result from a mandatory UEFA test was received on Wednesday night, the staff member went into isolation at the team hotel in Slovakia
- In consultation with the HSE early on Thursday morning, four other members of the travelling Irish party were identified as close contacts of the staff member and immediately went into isolation
- News of the positive test was only revealed after discussions on the make-up of the statement with the parent clubs of the two players involved
- As requested by all parties, the privacy of all five individuals was respected in the subsequent FAI statement
- The HSE and the FAI worked closely together to repatriate all those involved on Friday under strict COVID-19 guidelines. The FAI thanks the HSE for its co-operation on this matter
Manager Stephen Kenny will review his options for Wednesday’s UEFA Nations League game in Finland after today’s fixture against Wales. The FAI will review all COVID-19 protocols with UEFA and the HSE after the Finland game.'
More to follow