Connah's Quay Nomads deny Covid-19 protocol breach

Welsh club Connah’s Quay Nomads DENY they’ve broken coronavirus rules after their manager admitted ‘turning a blind eye’ to fielding three unwell players after positive tests in their camp – and later claiming it was just the ‘Bombay trots’

  • Welsh side played Dinamo Tbilisi in Europa League fixture at Wrexham’s ground
  • Three players withdrew from the squad before the game after positive tests
  • A fourth self-isolated after suffering from Covid-19 symptoms pre-match
  • Three other players reported feeling ‘unwell’ before Thursday night’s game
  • Nomads manager Andy Morrison admitted he ‘turned a blind eye’ to their illness
  • Morrison claimed they were suffering from stomach ache and toothache
  • But political leaders have been left ‘dumbfounded’ the game went ahead

Welsh club Connah’s Quay Nomads have denied breaching Covid-19 protocol after their manager admitted he ‘turned a blind eye’ to three players who turned up feeling unwell.

Three Connah’s Quay players pulled out of their squad for Thursday’s UEFA Europa League qualifier against Georgian team Dinamo Tbilisi after testing positive for coronavirus. A fourth player self-isolated after showing Covid symptoms.

And manager Andy Morrison revealed after their 1-0 defeat that three more players were told to play despite feeling ill, later claiming on Twitter they were suffering from ‘Bombay trots’ and ‘flatulence trapped wind.’

 Connah’s Quay Nomads manager Andy Morrison admitted after their Europa League defeat to Dinamo Tbilisi he ‘turned a blind eye’ to three players who reported feeling ‘unwell’ 

The Welsh Premier League club lost 1-0 to their Georgian opponents at Wrexham’s ground

His comments led to criticism from the Welsh Conservatives shadow health minister Andrew RT Davies, who was left ‘dumbfounded’ the match went ahead.

Morrison said: ‘Three lads have turned up tonight and they’re not well.

‘And it’s like, ‘lads, I don’t want to hear it. I can’t hear it tonight that you’re ill… let’s just get through it.’

‘I’ve been told that before the game and we’ve had to turn a blind eye to it and then you would have never noticed that anyone there tonight wasn’t feeling great.’

When questioned on Twitter later in the evening, Morrison said the three players ‘passed all protocol’ and were ‘just not themselves.’

Pushed further, Morrison appeared to suggest two of the players were suffering from stomach problems – described as ‘Bombay trots’ and ‘flatulence trapped wind’ – while another had ‘toothache’.

In another Twitter reply, Morrison said one had a ‘headache’ and another ‘Deli [sic] belly]. 

Morrison later responded to criticism on Twitter, saying the players in question were suffering from ‘Bombay trots’, ‘flatulence trapped wind’ and ‘toothache’ before the game

Morrison denied the players were suffering from Covid-19 after an outbreak in his squad

Morrison and the club have insisted all Covid-19 protocols were followed before the match

He added: ‘As a manager you turn a blind eye on match day – your [sic] not interest there’s a game of football to be played.’

The Welsh Premier League club, who lost 1-0 thanks to a 97th-minute penalty at Wrexham’s Racecourse Ground, insisted they followed all UEFA Covid-19 protocol and that Morrison’s comments had been ‘misconstrued’.

A club statement read: ‘We would like to go on record and say that this is categorically untrue and that what the manager was referring to was a number of players who may not have played had we had a fully fit squad.

‘Morrison clarified this in a tweet on his own personal Twitter account, indicating that a number of players had suffered from isolated pre-match upset stomach and headaches likely down to nerves due to being thrust into the starting lineup.’

However, ‘headache’ and ‘diarrhoea’ are both listed by the World Health Organization among ‘less common’ Covid-19 symptoms.  

Nomads player Jamie Insall goes off injured during Thursday night’s Europa League qualifier – it is not clear if Insall was one of the players affected

Morrison reacts by kicking a sponsorship board after Dinamo Tbilisi scored a late winner

But the club came in for criticism from politicians, with shadow health minister Davies saying ‘drastic’ action was needed if Morrison’s comments were correct.

‘You are left pretty dumbfounded to be honest with you that when those symptoms are showing, that a match went ahead where there is considerable personal interaction just by the very nature of playing football,’ he told BBC Radio Wales Breakfast.

‘Obviously I’d have to wait to find out more information, but if the manager’s comments are correct then something drastic needs to happen here to make sure that safeguards are put in place that you can’t overrule the obvious symptoms and just play a match that could potentially spread to the wider community the virus affects.’

Dejected Connah’s Quay players reflect after losing the tie in the 97th minute on Thursday

UEFA declined to comment on the matter when contacted by Sportsmail, while the Football Association of Wales said they were awaiting a response from Connor’s Quay regarding the manager’s comments.

Sportsmail has contacted Public Health Wales, Wrexham and Dinamo Tbilisi for comment.

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