England's Nations League match against Iceland next week will go ahead as planned at Wembley Stadium after the United Kingdom Government implemented a "temporary and extremely limited exemption" for footballers travelling to Copenhagen.
Travel from the UK to Denmark and vice versa has been banned after the Danish government announced there had been a mutation of COVID-19 in mink farms. British residents returning from the country are obliged to isolate for 14 days whilst visitors from the country will be turned away.
That policy threatened to force the English Football Association (FA) to move Wednesday's fixture against Iceland outside the United Kingdom, with Germany a potential option, or risk forfeiting the game. Iceland play in Denmark in the penultimate round on Sunday before travelling to England.
Following a plea from the FA the British Government announced that whilst it was extending the travel ban to and from Denmark for a further fortnight they would allow travel to and from Copenhagen for the upcoming matches.
A statement said: "The government has announced a limited exemption for a small number of Danish and Icelandic national football players to travel from the UK to Copenhagen and back, without the need to self-isolate, to take part in upcoming international football fixtures.
"This temporary and extremely limited exemption will allow the relevant players and essential staff support to be exempt from the new requirements and will help reduce any disruption for England's upcoming Nations League fixtures."
In addition to allowing the Iceland squad to travel to London the decision by the UK government opens the door for Danish and Icelandic players to join up with their national team in time for Sunday's game, with the Danish football association [DBU] planning on bringing their players to Copenhagen tomorrow. Seven players, including key figures Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Kasper Schmeichel and Andreas Christensen, had previously been ruled out of the fixture.
"Our national team players travel, live and train in a very safe environment and are constantly tested, both in their clubs and on the national team," said DBU chief Jakob Jensen. "Therefore, we are confident of getting them home so they can play the international match against Iceland on Sunday.
"I would like to thank our colleagues in the FA and both the Danish Embassy and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who have been of great help in this special challenge. And now we are looking forward to getting the players home and playing with an even stronger national team in [St Jakob] Park on Sunday."
In the absence of Hojbjerg et al nine different players were called up to the squad instead for a 2-0 friendly win over Sweden which came after two positive coronavirus tests within the Danish squad.
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Iceland were also set to be without four players, including Everton midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson and Arsenal goalkeeper Alex Runarsson, all of whom were with the squad for tonight's Euro 2020 play off against Hungary.
The FA, who acknowledged that they understood "the optics" of this particular loophole when other industries were unable to engage with Denmark, had offered to carry out extra testing on Icelandic players to ensure the match could go ahead. The visiting team will arrive by charter jet to a private airport terminal and will only have access to their hotel and Wembley Stadium.
The governing body insisted that their priority was not the sporting advantage of playing at home nor the financial cost of moving the fixture abroad that were their priorities.
"The priority must be health, which is why we are asking for this support," an FA statement earlier today said. "We believe it's in the better interests of the England team and support staff to play at Wembley Stadium rather than have international travel at this time - and then play the match under the same UEFA protocols against the same opposition, but in a different country."