Soccer-Austria winger cannot travel to England friendly over quarantine threat

Soccer Football - Euro 2020 Qualifier - Group G - North Macedonia v Austria - Tose Proeski Arena, Skopje, North Macedonia - June 10, 2019 Austria's Valentino Lazaro in action REUTERS/Ognen Teofilovski

VIENNA (Reuters) - Austria will have to do without winger Valentino Lazaro for Wednesday’s friendly match against England after failing to secure permission for him to travel without the threat of quarantine.

Lazaro had visited Dubai at the end of last month before heading to Austria to join up with the national team for their pre-Euro 2020 training camp in Bad Tatzmannsdorf.

"The 25-year-old would have to go into quarantine for several days when entering England due to a stay abroad for training purposes in the run-up to the team camp," said a statement from the Austrian football federation (OFB) on Tuesday.

Lazaro, who spent the recent seasons on loan at Newcastle United and Borussia Moenchengladbach from Inter Milan, went to Dubai for training sessions with close friend and Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku.

"At that time, the player was informed that trip would not result in any restrictions for a professional entry to England," the OFB added.

"In view of the isolated travel activity and the close-knit testing of the national team, the OFB tried to obtain a special permit, but this was not granted."

The United Arab Emirates has been on the United Kingdom’s COVID-19 red list for travel since mid-January, requiring a mandatory hotel quarantine for anyone arriving from the UAE, or who has recently visited there.

Lazaro joins the injured Marko Arnautovic and Karim Onisiwo on the list of those unavailable for Wednesday's game in Middlesbrough.

It is the first warm-up ahead of the Euros for both England and Austria. Austria will also play a second friendly against Slovakia in Vienna on Sunday.

Austria's first game at Euro 2020 is against North Macedonia in Bucharest on June 13.

(Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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