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No fans for Irish games


Long wait: New Ireland boss Stephen Kenny

Long wait: New Ireland boss Stephen Kenny


Long wait: New Ireland boss Stephen Kenny

Ireland fans are facing a long wait to see Stephen Kenny's senior side in the flesh as UEFA will this week tell national associations to expect any internationals played in 2020 to be held behind closed doors.

UEFA's National Competitions Committee met yesterday, when they agreed to carry on with plans for a series of senior international matches, in the Nations League and the Euro 2020 play-offs, in September, October and November.

They were also due to make a decision on new dates for the U-21 Euro finals, due to be played in 2021 but certain to be pushed back to 2022. However, they delayed a final call on that tournament until the May 27 meeting of UEFA's Executive Committee.

UEFA will today brief the 55 national associations on their hopes for the autumn games, admitting that triple headers are likely to clear the backlog of fixtures.

But they will instruct bodies such as the FAI to prepare for having no crowds at games played this year. FAI CEO Gary Owens has previously said that it was vital to the association's financial well-being to be able to host the September Nations League game with Finland.

A key game, with no set date, is the Euro 2020 play-off between Slovakia and Ireland and Slovakia's coach says he expects to see the traditional "combativeness and aggression" from Ireland despite the change of manager.

"They have a new coach but the character remains the same," Pavel Hapal said. "Their game is based on aggression and that won't change. We have a very difficult opponent awaiting us."