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England international friendly cancelled after opponents withdraw over COVID-19 concerns

New Zealand have announced in an official statement that they have chosen to withdraw from next month’s planned international fixture with England.

New Zealand were due to take to the field against England in November at Wembley, which would no doubt have proven to be a big moment for the international football minnows.

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However, considering the current uncertainty in the UK, accompanied by New Zealand’s success in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic thus far, you couldn’t blame them for having concerns regarding flying to London.

It appears as though those concerns reached a tipping point, with New Zealand Football confirming in an official statement that they will no longer be participating in the fixture, stressing their disappointment that they have been forced into making such a decision.

The statement explains how travel and player availability complications relating to COVID-19 have forced them to withdraw. They can’t guarantee that they will have a team available to field at Wembley.

While football has successfully restarted with limited disruption (in the grand scheme of things), it doesn’t change the fact that flying to the other side of the planet to one of the worst-hit European countries is a relatively bad idea.

Regardless of the safety measures put in place by the FA to host opponents at Wembley, and the precautions that New Zealand would undoubtedly take to ensure their players remain healthy, there can be no ill feeling over this.

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