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Bulgaria count on home Euro tie

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Steven Kenny

Steven Kenny

SPORTSFILE

Steven Kenny

Bulgaria are still planning to host next month's Nations League game against the Republic of Ireland even though the Balkan nation is not on the 'green list' for travel.

But Hungary and Greece are on stand-by to host the game as a neutral venue in the event that UEFA do not give Bulgaria permission to host the game in Sofia on September 3.

The game will be played behind closed doors, no matter the venue. "Bulgaria are still listed as the host nation and they plan to play it at home so we have to plan on that basis," said an FAI source last night.

UEFA have promised to update senior officials from the national associations on Wednesday, the FAI keen to get clarity on the venue for what will be Stephen Kenny's first game in charge of the senior side.

As Bulgaria is not on the Irish Government's 'green list', any Irish citizen travelling there would have to complete a 14-day quarantine spell upon their return. The FAI remain in talks with Government departments about obtaining an exemption to allow a very limited travelling party to return home from Bulgaria without the need for quarantine, a decision due today.

Skeleton

That would see a skeleton crew of just 45, with 23 players and 22 coaching, medical and support staff. Anyone outside of that 'bubble' who travels to Sofia, including media, would still have to isolate upon their return from Bulgaria and could not attend the home game in the Nations League against Finland four days later.

Kenny plans to assemble his squad in Dublin before travelling but he will have to cope without defender Ciaran Clark, the Newcastle defender still a long-term injury concern.

Shane Duffy may have a new club by then as he could seal a season-long loan move to West Ham this week.

Meanwhile, Stephen Ward will complete his move to Ipswich Town today.