The Kolozsvár (Cluj-Napoca) based football team of CFR could only travel to Malta on Tuesday to attend its Champions League first qualifying round match against Floriana Valletta with the special authorization of the Romanian Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
On Monday evening, the Romanian National Committee for Emergency Situations put Malta among the risky countries for COVID-19, meaning that everybody arriving in Romania from the Mediterranean country must go into a 14-day quarantine and all scheduled flights were temporarily suspended. Therefore, it looked like the Romanian Champion team would not be able to travel to its Wednesday evening match, reported gsp.ro.
According to the regulations of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), if the pandemic situation requires it, a match can be played in a neutral location, but because the restrictions of the Bucharest authorities came at the very last minute on Monday evening, CFR could not inform the home team on time. Because of this, were they to have missed the match altogether, they would have been disqualified from the most precious European Cup.
So, the club management desperately tried to get permission from the authorities to allow them to fly to Malta, which they finally received at 9 o’clock on Tuesday morning. Only two hours later, at 11:00 a.m., the team’s charter flight took off from the Kolozsvár airport. Another piece of good news for CFR was that its players would not have to be isolated for two weeks upon returning home after the match. (This is very important because the new season of the Romanian First League starts already this weekend.)
The Floriana Valletta – CFR match started at 22:00 (GMT+3) Wednesday, but according to prosport.ro, CFR fans weren’t able to watch the game on TV because none of the Maltese TV channels broadcasted it; Romanian channels thus could not take it over from them either.
Because CFR beat Floriana FC lat night with two goals (2-0), the Kolozsvár-based team will be playing against Dinamo Zagreb next week.
Title image: CFR press conference in Malta the day before the match, August 18, 2020. (Image: Floriana FC Facebook)