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Michael O’Neill: NI manager tells fans to ‘stay safe’ amid coronavirus crisis

Michael O’Neill puts health first in his message to Northern Ireland fans

NI boss Michael O’Neill has called on fans to obey coronavirus guidelines on the scheduled day of the Euro 2020 play-off with Bosnia-Herzegovina.

The game has been pushed back to June, subject to a “review”, while the finals will now take place in 2021.

“While both the squad and myself are disappointed not to be in action today, we’re conscious of the fact we’re in the midst of a global crisis,” he said.

“We all need each other’s help and support – stay safe and stay at home.”

He added: “Football players, managers and coaches are not immune to the potential effects of this deadly virus.

“We have family members and friends who are classed as vulnerable. We care for them deeply and don’t want them to come to any harm.”

Spot up for grabs

The winners of Bosnia v Northern Ireland will host the victors from the Slovakia v Republic of Ireland play-off to decide who will reach the finals.

However, the current focus is on combating coronavirus and O’Neill has provided advice for Northern Ireland fans.

“The match against Bosnia and Herzegovina has been rescheduled for June. It may or may not take place then,” he added.

“I am sure that when it eventually does go ahead we will be able to count on your support as we once again strive to qualify for a major tournament.

“In the meantime, please keep in touch with friends and family by using remote technology such as phone, internet and social media. Stay at home if you can. If you do have to go outside please ensure it is only to get food or that it’s for health reasons or essential work.

“And if you go outside to exercise – once a day is permitted – then make sure you observe the rules by staying two metres (six feet) away from other people. And don’t forget to wash your hands as soon as you get home.

“If we all follow the rules then hopefully it won’t be too long before you, the GAWA, get to sing your hearts out again. I very much look forward to that day.”


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